WUMT is a viable Windows Update alternative

When it comes to handling Windows updates, WUMT offers several options bound to appeal to Windows admins and power users alike. And the price is right -- WUMT is freeware.

WUMT is short for Windows Update MiniTool, a free software tool that handles Windows updates without requiring use of the built-in Update & Security facility in Windows 10. WUMT, which originally appeared on the Wilders Security Forums in October 2015, comes from an anonymous Russian translator who goes by "Mr. X." He maintains the tool on a Spanish language page on Blogspot, where he regularly updates the program, currently numbered 30.09.2016 (which corresponds to its release date at the end of September 2016). You can also download the tool from MajorGeeks.com.

Windows update and security

WUMT replaces the Update & Security facility that's part of Settings in Windows 10.

Why use a Windows Update alternative?

When it comes to handling Windows updates, WUMT offers several options bound to appeal to Windows admins and power users alike, specifically:

  • User-driven update selection: Where the built-in update facility in Windows 10 takes an "all-or-nothing" stance on downloading updates, WUMT provides checkboxes so that users can select those they wish to download. This makes it easy for corporate admins who tend to manage drivers themselves to eschew Microsoft-supplied driver downloads.
  • Multiple install modes: WUMT offers various install modes that can be managed using the "Configure Automatic Updates" template in Group Policy, including:
    • Disabled — not active
    • Automatically — WUMT downloads updates, then installs them
    • Notification mode — WUMT provides notifications when updates are available, but performs no downloads
    • Download only — WUMT provides notifications and download updates, but does not install them
    • Scheduled — WUMT downloads at policy-driven intervals, then installs them
    • Managed by Administrator — WUMT lets local admins manage Automatic Updates
  • Multiple versions of Windows: WUMT works with all modern versions of Windows, all the way back to Windows 2000, including XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.
  • Behaves like Windows Update, only better: Because WUMT is simply a replacement front-end for Windows Update mechanisms, it deposits updates in the expected directory (%windir%\SoftwareDistribution\Download) just like Windows Update itself does. WUMT is, however, more stable than the built-in Update & Security facility, and has proved itself able to download and install updates on PCs where the built-in facility either hangs during downloads or fails to complete because of errors. It also seems faster than the built-in facility, which often pauses during downloads, sometimes for minutes at a time.
  • Supports Offline mode: WUMT can check for updates in a file named wsusscn2.cab (a Microsoft-maintained source for current updates for the Windows Server Update Service or WSUS) without accessing the internet. Admins or users must grab this file from the Microsoft link and copy it into the WUMT program folder for offline mode to work. (Note: the program does not reside by default in either the Program Files or Program Files (x86) folder; it is unpacked into a folder of the installer's choosing instead. Mine resides in G:\Utils\wumt, for example).

All in all, WUMT is an excellent tool that does a bang-up job of managing and installing Windows updates. Power or home users will find it a worthwhile replacement for Windows Update; Windows admins will find it infinitely preferable to Windows Update for managing updates to reference or standard images for maintenance and scheduled deployments.

Working with WUMT

As I was writing this article, Microsoft released a Windows 10 Cumulative Update, KB3201845. When I tried to install it on a reference image, the download hung at 0 percent and never completed. Although I didn't know at the time that this problem was widely experienced and reported by many users, I immediately turned to WUMT to fetch the update, which it downloaded and installed without any issues. I also experienced record download speeds when grabbing the download file (just under 1 GB in size), with none of the long pauses that sometimes plague the built-in facility.

Working with WUMT

KB3201845 appears at the bottom of the pick list above, under the "Windows 10" label.

Working with the WUMT user interface is also quite simple. You drive the program's actions with the toolbar in the left-hand pane just under Update History. Table 1 shows and explains those controls.

WUMT control buttons

Two of the controls shown above are particularly useful. The “Hide" button provides a means to drop unwanted items from future displays. This proved helpful on a reference image that sought to download an irrelevant and unnecessary item. Clicking the Hide button simply caused it to disappear. And, admins who need to plug updates into a third-party software management package, such as Patch Manager, Kaseya VSA or Secunia CSA, will find the “Copy” button makes it easy to cut and paste into download facilities they offer.

WUMT offers one more thing: device driver updates

In my opinion, the features and capabilities of WUMT already covered in this article more than justify its download and use. However, WUMT also scans the PCs on which it's run for hardware device drivers and will suggest downloads for newer versions when it finds them. In the three or four months I've been using the program regularly, I've found its device driver identification capabilities to be as good as or better than my previous favorites: eSupport's DriverAgent and Slimware Utilities' DriverUpdate. Neither of those programs are free, and both produce more false positives and/or driver misidentifications than does WUMT.

Many admins do not want drivers installed automatically. WUMT also makes it easy to download drivers without installing them. WUMT includes an option to omit drivers altogether, if users don't wish to take advantage of its driver scan and download support. One need only uncheck the left-pane item that reads "Include drivers" to instruct WUMT to skip this activity completely. But I believe it does work well enough to use it, if only as a driver scanner.

WUMT deserves a place in your Windows toolkit

Given its speed, stability and detailed controls over Windows Update download behavior, WUMT is a must-have Windows tool. Power users and professional Windows admins alike will find it a useful addition to their software toolbox. And best of all, the price is right – WUMT is freeware.

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This story, "WUMT is a viable Windows Update alternative" was originally published by CIO.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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