One thing is for sure with Windows XP and Vista computers, over time you will have installed many hotfixes and a service pack or two from Windows Update. For many people, you may not have to worry about which updates are being applied to your system
But what if one day, you need to verify if a hotfix has been installed on your computer. One way you can check is to open up Add or Remove Programs from the Control Panel.
As you can see, viewing updates from Add or Remove Programs don't offer much information for each update and is pretty useless. Instead there are better alternatives that provides more useful hotfix and service pack information installed on your system.
View Hotfixes On Windows XP
For XP systems, an excellent portable freeware utility called WinUpdatesList from nirsoft.net, provides an easy to use interface that displays a list of all Windows updates (Service Packs and Hotfixes) installed on your computer.
To run the program, download the zip file from http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wul.html (scroll to bottom of page and click on "Download WinUpdatesList in zip file "). Now unzip the file, wul.zip, then double click on wul.exe to launch the utility.
WinUpdatesList list all hotfixes and service packs that have been installed, who installed the update and when it was installed. You can sort the list by clicking on any column. For example, to view by date, click on Installation Date column. Scrolling over to the right, reveals more information such as Web Link for each update and the uninstall Command.
Clicking on an update in the list displays all the files associated with the update in the lower pane including version information and file path. To display detailed information, right click on an update in the upper pane, and select Open Web Link. Your browser will open and display the knowledge base article on Microsoft web site for the update.
WinUpdatesList also allows you to search for an update (select Edit \ Find from menu) and can print a report by selecting View \ HTML Report .
View Hotfixes On Windows Vista
Unfortunately WinUpdatesList has not been updated for Vista yet. But you can get similar information by clicking on the Start menu and searching for update (from Start menu). In the search results, click on Windows Update.
Then in the left navigation pane, click on the View update history link.
You will then see all the updates that have been installed on your Vista computer and you can sort them by clicking on the Date Installed column or view all successful and failed update installations by clicking on the Status column.
Although Windows Update does not provide as much information as WinUpdatesList, it does provide the capability to view the knowledge base article on Microsoft web site, by right clicking on an update and selecting View details.
Then click on the link under More information to open up the knowledge base article.
Now that you know how to view installed updates on your XP or Vista computer, it can be usefull for times when you are having problems and need to verify which updates are installed.