Is it possible (and safe) to copy the SoftwareDistribution\Download folder from one Windows XP machine, A, to another, B, and then let update.microsoft.com do its thing on B minus the download time for all packages that have been downloaded on A?

Are other files and/or directories required to make B accept/check the copied files?

  • Is this for a home network or small business? – Agent_9191 Oct 9 '09 at 20:54

This may be of interest to you:

You can use c't Offline Update to easily download patches and updates for your Windows and Office without going through the whole procedure on Microsoft's Windows Update website.

c't Offline Update creates patch packages on USB sticks, DVD, or CD to update and patch as many machines as you want.

Supported operating systems and software: Windows Server 2008, Server 2003, Vista, XP, 2000 (incl. their respective 64-bit versions) and Microsoft Office 2007, XP, 2003, and 2000.

alt text

c't Offline Update is freeware and portable (does not require installation).

  • It would have been nice if it supported Windows 7. – Ramon Marco Navarro Nov 4 '09 at 3:38
  • maybe with the next update, this version 6 was released in June. – Molly7244 Nov 4 '09 at 11:00
  • Doesn't include the optional software updates but that's a minor (tiny) issue. Works very well. – VolkerK Dec 12 '09 at 9:01
  • i'd say there are legal issues involved, regarding certain optional updates that require WGA check. – Molly7244 Dec 12 '09 at 22:44

I've done this before.. The problem is that copying only this folder won't do anything. What is more this technique (if you can say so) is extremely dirty.

During the update, windows firstly downloads some files, then extracts and lastly deletes some of the downloads. You need to catch the moment when windows has downloaded all the files, and didn't start updating. If you start copying after finished update, those files will be no use for you.


I doubt the feasibility of your idea.

Unless the software installed among two machines are exactly the same, the contents of the \Download folder should be different, not mentioning different hardware configurations. I am not sure whether Windows is adding any machine specific encoding for the \Download folders.

If your goal was to minimize Internet traffic on downloading Windows updates, and if you have a Windows server in your network, you should use WSUS to distribute updates.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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