Brief overview of how Windows Update (WU) works, as I understand it:
- WU downloads a file called wsusscn2.cab from the MS content delivery network point nearest you. Depending on various network factors, this is usually completed within 10-60 seconds. (I have written a short script to manually verify this)
- The cab file is cryptographically signed. This signature is checked, and the cab is extracted. The cab contains more cabfiles, also crypto-signed. Their signatures are checked and they are extracted.
- These files are parsed against the live windows system to see which of the available updates actually need to be applied to this PC. WU tries to get is many patches into one 'install-and-reboot' operation as it can, but sometimes successive reboots will be needed.
- After the processing is complete, a list of eligible updates is displayed, and the user is asked to choose which ones to install.
- After user makes his/her choices and click the