Windows Update Manager (WuMgr): an open source solution to Win 10 update problems

The Microsoft Windows ‘update situation’ has already been the subject of many jokes, but a very few attempts have been made to actually fix it.

The latest attempt comes from a developer who has come up with a nifty open source tool.

Dubbed Windows Update Manager, and also called WuMgr, the tool can search, install, and even block updates.

wumgr_windows_10

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Some background

Traditionally, updating Windows was an optional choice for end users. However, the situation began to change with the introduction of Windows 10, where that choice was revoked.

Microsoft cites safety and security as the reason behind enforcing this limitation.

The move wasn’t entirely senseless, as the number of devastating aftermaths of running unpatched systems has only increased. A recent example of this is the WannaCry ransomware attack.

So with time, legacy modules of update components in Windows started to dissolve. But this annoyed advanced users as well as sysadmins.

Even for a regular person, the lack of choice was frustrating; thus searching for suitable alternatives started.

The situation now

Microsoft is pushing more and more background services and scheduled tasks associated with the update components in every new build, in accordance with the Windows-as-a-service model.

For enterprise customers, however, there are still a couple of alternatives.

They are entitled to volume SKUs of Windows (Education, Enterprise, Enterprise LTSC etc.) and granular update services like Windows Server Update Services AKA WSUS.

windows_update_working_on

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Not only those options are not feasible for consumer editions (Home/Core, Pro etc.), some of them are incompatible too.

WUMT and its limitations

Fortunately, a few years back, a user named ‘stupid user’ over Ru.Board coded Windows Update Minitool (English thread over My Digital Life forums).

The tool utilized Windows Update Agent APIs, and provided traditional controls to users.

So naturally, it started becoming a viable alternative. But being closed source, WUMT feature updates were always time taking.

Development dried up since 2016, and compatibility issues cropped up as Microsoft began migrating update components over Unified Update Platform.

Meet WuMgr

Now, another enthusiast named [email protected] forums (cough… Disney fans… cough) took the baton and created Windows Update Manager.

Inspired by same features, the portable tool is licensed under GNU General Public License version 3 and welcomes contributions from other coders.

The author is very much proactive, listens feedback from users and is actively working on incorporating new features.

Apart from typical features like scanning, downloading, and installing updates, WuMgr currently packs in following new functionalities:

  • Ability to auto download wsusscn2.cab for ‘offline’ search of updates (like when wuauserv is blocked in the firewall).
  • Ability to manually (that is without the use of wuauserv or the windows agent API) download found updates to disk. This is useful when windows updates access to Microsoft servers is blocked.
  • Ability to block automatic windows update on Pro/Core editions of Windows 10 by setting the WSUS servers to ” ” as described in the ‘Windows Restricted Traffic Limited Functionality Baseline‘ from Microsoft.
  • Hides the Windows Update page from the Settings app when automatic updates are disabled.

wumgr_systray

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David also shares the roadmap for WuMgr development:

  • Install ‘manually’ downloaded updates without using the Windows Update Agent API.
  • To better integrate with means of blocking automatic Windows update on Windows 10 editions which do not respect the Group Policies.
  • To provide an optional user friendly automatic update mechanism which (service/background) never forces a reboot (when needed disable wuauserv until user reboots).
  • Only search for updates when the PC is not in use (optional).
  • Allow the user to select what class of updates to install. For example, avoid feature upgrades or only install critical security patches etc.
  • Simply put an automatic update mechanism based on consent and not violence, updates are like 6 😉
  • More to come…

WuMgr also supports previous Windows versions which are still in use such as Windows 7 or 8.1. There are some visual glitches when running on older Windows versions though, but the developer is already notified about those bugs.

wumgr_windows_7

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The application is also compatible with popular WUMT Wrapper Script and the two developers are working closely to bring up more features.

Another day, another great open source contribution!

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.