3 alternative ways to get Windows updates
1. Windiz Updates provides an experience that's as similar to the original as its name. The twist is that this service won't work in Internet Explorer - you'll need Firefox and the Windiz addon. It doesn't collect any personal information, and IE doesn't even need to be installed on your system to use it.
It's an intelligent system and won't download old updates that have been superceded by newer ones. Windiz also won't install updates that have potential security issues. New updates with It can even provide updates for Microsoft's golden oldies like 95 and NT.
2. Windows Updates Downloader is a bit more cumbersome, but it does the job. After installing the app, you'll need to download the appropriate .ulz files from this page to access the updates. The updater can handle Windows 2000 Pro, Server 2003, XP, Vista (both 32 and 64 bit), and even Office 2003 and Exchange Server.
Select the updates you want and the downloader goes to work, dropping the individual KB files into your specified folder - the path and automatic naming options can be customized. Once they're downloaded, double click each update you want to install.
One important note: although the items are marked with checkboxes, you have to double-click them to check and uncheck an update. Don't click once and mutter "WTF" like I did at first.
3. CT Update uses WGET to handle everything from 2000 to server 2008 - regardless of the language of your Windows install - and then creates a CD or DVD images of your updates. Pop the disc in your target machine (or mount the iso) and run updateinstaller.exe and let it run. It creates a temporary account with the necessary rights to install the updates and reboot without user interaction, then removes the account when it's finished.
Have another method I've missed? Share it with your fellow readers in the comments!