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November 27, 2020

CAB Add-Package Absent from Settings Update History


Here’s another one for the “I didn’t know that Windows worked that way” file. I just used DISM Add-Package to force-install a CAB file on my Beta Channel test PC. Surprisingly KB4568831– which takes that PC to Build 19042.423 — is absent from Settings → Update & Security → View update history. The lead-in graphic for this story shows that the most recent update it knows about is dated 7/15/2020, KB4565503. No mention of KB4568831 anywhere therein, either. But take a look at this:

CAB Add-Package Absent from Settings Update History.P&f

When Settings won’t show an update, Programs and Features will. I’ll explain…
[Click image for full-sized view.]

But Wait! There’s Another Way to See Windows Update History

Inside Control Panel, in the Programs and Features item, you’ll find an entry that reads “View installed updates” in the left-hand pane. If you click that entry, you’ll see something like the preceding screenshot. Note the top-most item in the list reads “Update for Microsoft Windows (KB4568831)” and it’s dated 7/30/2020 (that’s today as I write this item up). I can only speculate that because I used DISM to manually install the KB4568831 CAB file that Settings was somehow left out of the loop. It either didn’t catch the information that Programs and Features uses, or that information was not dispatched to Settings/Update & Security/View update history for display.

In looking for confirmation of one theory or the other, or trying to find an explanation for what’s going on, I come up empty-handed. I see online that CAB files don’t have the same hangers-on that get packaged with self-installing updates — namely, an installation engine plus XML and metadata files (see the interesting details in this WinHelpOnline story: How to Install CAB and MSU Updates from Windows Update Catalog under the heading “.MSU files”). This inclines me to believe that the absence of the XML and/or metadata files might be related to the indisputable observation that a manual DISM Add-Package operation on a CAB file registers in “View installed updates” but not in “Update history.” The whys and wherefores are still somewhat murky, though.

To me, the moral of this story is that if you can’t find something you think should be in Update history, look in “View installed updates” instead. As was the case here, you may just find there what is absent from the other place. And that’s how things sometimes go, here in Windows-World.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

One Response “CAB Add-Package Absent from Settings Update History”

  1. Keith Donald
    July 31, 2020 at 16:01

    That’s the only place to see Servicing Stack updates too.

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