Particularly interested in Windows XP, but all versions of Windows would be useful (if they differ).
EDIT: How does Windows/Windows Update know what to apply and what it has already done? Does it compare .dll/.exe versions or something else?
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I've just come across the following Microsoft web page which sheds some light on the question: Command-line switches for Windows software update packages
Under the heading, Overview of the installation process, it states:
- The [hotfix] installation program registers the software update under one of the following registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Updates\<operating system>\<service pack level>\KB<nnnnnn>
- Removal information for the software update is stored in a hidden folder named: