What was Microsoft trying to do when they had Windows Updates over their website? Now it's completely integrated into the operating system and it seems much smoother. The Linux and Mac I've used got updates through a system app, why did Microsoft make you use Internet Explorer, was it to make people use their browser? Was part of the reason Internet Explorer used to be full of security holes because it was given to much "power" to check the system and add updates? What language/techniques did the website use to find out if your using IE and what's installed on your OS. For example was it as simple using conditional comments and JavaScript to block anyone not using IE?

I mean if anything web apps were less popular back when the website was used.

  • 2
    Back then, "Web App" -- "Huh? What's that?" ActiveX was a needed component to make Windows Update work to scan the system and run the process. It was part of IE as a separate module. For the most part, the above paragraph is a 100% Hindsight conjecture trying to compare the Apples of today with the Oranges of yesterday. Most of it didn't exist back then. – Fiasco Labs Jul 25 '12 at 2:19

Are you talking about a decade+ ago when they didn't have a built-in mechanism for updates?

This may sound a bit self-referencing but they did it over a browser because they didn't have a built-in mechanism. They chose that particular way because it was easier and faster to get Windows out the door. Also, at the time most computers weren't constantly connected to the internet so getting updates was an entirely different experience for the user.

The browser didn't have any extra access, but there was an ActiveX control that was able to list the installed updates and pass it to the Windows Update service.

| improve this answer | |
  • at the time most computers weren't constantly connected to the internet Right 'nuff on that one. I had networks where I had to manually download the patches, burn them to disk and manually transport them onto location. Dial-up stunk if you had it, several manufacturing operations didn't have internet access and thankfully, we only had to worry about stability patching. – Fiasco Labs Jul 25 '12 at 2:21

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.