A community-based project recently went live, providing access to long lost Windows Update pages, which work with classic versions of Windows to enable updating the OS. The Windows Update Restored site enables updating some classic versions of Windows, and the team members are busy getting their update locations ready. The team eventually hopes to provide service to those installing and updating systems with Windows 95, NT 4.0, 98, Me, 2000, and XP. The site's compatibility pages also have Windows Server 2003, plus Windows "Vista and Newer" entries, indicating they could eventually be part of the roadmap.
Right now, the update site that is working and available is limited to a clone of the Windows Update v3.1 website (1997), which covers Windows 95, NT 4.0, and Windows 98 (and SE). They hope to get Update v4 (2001) and Update v5 (2004) running in the future. The people behind the project flag to site visitors that it isn't an official Microsoft-backed project, and neither are the update pages it links to. Use these pages at your own risk, they warn, and they also stress that the update pages are for "archival purposes only." However, there is information that this site is fully functional for updating an OS.
Ever since 2011 when Microsoft pulled the plug on nearly all the Windows Update websites, the Windows Update feature for older Windows operating systems was no longer functional. The only way to install updates after that point was through external third-party installers which didn't cover all the updates that the operating system would fully support. So, with this project, we can now update operating systems as old as Windows 95 all the way through Windows XP RTM like we used to back in the day.
Windows Update Restored is both a welcome and interesting project, we are looking forward to the development.