There is a very popular saying – “if it ain’t broken, then don’t try to fix it”, and it actually works in many places and avoids some of the unpleasant situations when you end up damaging something that was working very good. But at Microsoft they seem to work in this saying very religiously – they kept using the same ActiveX based Microsoft Update Catalog web interface that worked only in Internet Explorer for many decades until it stopped working in the new Edge web browser. Had it not been for the Edge browser, they would not have touched the update catalog web site even now.
But thanks to recent changes made by Microsoft, now you can access the Microsoft Update Catalog web site using any recent version of any popular web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge and others. Unlike before when it would show a message that this site can only be accessed using Internet Explorer 6.0 or newer, now it does not whine about the Internet Explorer requirements. In fact, the new Windows Update Catalog site does not even use the ActiveX technology anymore (even if you access it using Internet Explorer).
But Microsoft has made some changes to this Microsoft Update Catalog web site. Now you cannot just visit the web site and let it detect all the updates that your operating system needs. Instead, now you have to search for any hotfixes, software updates, drivers etc., using these keywords and descriptions for these items. For example, you can search for a myriad of update fields and categories including the update titles, descriptions, applicable products, classifications, and knowledge base articles (for example, KB3186987).
Conclusion: Now you can download some software updates, hotfixes, device drivers and more from the Microsoft Update Catalog site using any web browser. You are not forced to install any ActiveX controls anymore either.
You can access the new Microsoft Update Catalog website at http://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/.