Area Windows update restored, founded by enthusiasts and fans of older Windows versions, introduced updates for Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me. This project, aimed at supporting older versions of Microsoft operating systems, was announced on July 5, 2023.
The Windows Update Restored website lets you update some older versions of Windows. The team hopes to help those who continue to use PCs running Windows 95, NT 4.0, 98, Me, 2000 and XP. The project page mentions Windows Server 2003 as well as Windows “Vista and later”, indicating that support for these operating systems will likely be available in the near future.
The update site is currently limited to a clone of the Windows Update v3.1 (1997) resource, which covers Windows 95, NT 4.0 and Windows 98 (including the SE version). The creators of the site indicate that this is not an official project, as well as the update pages to which it refers. They point out that the use of these pages is at your own risk and also emphasize that the service packs are intended to “For archival purposes only“. However, the video below shows that this site is used to update the operating system.
The video shows likely scenarios that users of older versions of Windows may encounter. At the beginning of the video, updating Windows 95 seems extremely quick and easy. After launching Internet Explorer, the user clicks the “Product Updates” button on the left column of the website. A “Security Warning” will appear asking you to accept the authenticity of the Windows Update Management Pack. A “Please wait” prompt will then appear, followed by a page full of checkboxes for you to select the updates required for the version of Windows installed on your computer.
If you look at the first example of the Windows 95 update, you will be amazed at how small the download size is compared to what users are used to today. The critical update package for this operating system was only 3.1 MB, the security update was only 124 KB, and the largest download was DirectX 8a (recommended but optional) at 11.2 MB. It may require multiple visits to the update page and restarting the computer to complete the update process.
Other parts of the video contain similar demos with other older operating systems. In particular, the moderator of the video also uses the site Restored Windows Update v3.1 to upgrade from Windows NT4 to Service Pack 6a and Windows 98 SE with many important and optional packages. All major updates for these operating systems should be available now, but some optional updates may not be available yet. For example, DirectX 8.1 does not currently download and install on Windows 95, even if the user selects the check box on the upgrade page.
The leftmost column in the table above lists the names of the websites that provide access to the cloned Windows Update sites. For clarification, we would like to reiterate that Windows 95, NT 4.0 and Windows 98 (and SE) will be updated on the Windows Update v3.1 site. Windows Update sites that work with an update similar to Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and support for Windows Vista or later versions are in the pipeline. The timing of the appearance of these pages is not known, so interested users will have to wait and periodically check the messages on the project forum. Windows Me and Windows 2000 are also not yet covered by the update service, but the video says:near futureto support these operating systems.
Windows Update Restored is an interesting project, but not officially endorsed by the team to support the use of older versions of Windows. For better user experience and up-to-date security updates, PC users are recommended to upgrade to more modern operating systems like Windows 10 and 11, latest versions of Linux or other operating systems.