The change to Windows Updates getting the headlines this month has to do with the bundled quality updates. You can no longer choose individual patches for Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, or Server 2012 R2. These operating systems will follow the model employed by Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 with one quality update, one monthly quality rollup, and .NET updates.
The change to Windows Updates was announced back in August and clarified earlier this month with posts to TechNet as the change took effect. As part of the announcement, it was also stated that the Microsoft Update Catalog would also be receiving a long overdue update. The site allows you to download Windows Updates individually through your browser. Previous versions of the site restricted access to Internet Explorer. The latest version of the site at www.catalog.update.microsoft.com now allows other browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari to visit the site, search for updates, and download them.
While you might normally get updates through the Windows Update process, using the Catalog can come in handy in cases of troubleshooting updates, bulk updating computers, or installing updates to offline computers. Now that the ActiveX requirement has been removed from the site, enjoy the new freedom to use your browser of choice.