Windows Update (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) is a Microsoft website that provides updates for Windows (and related software and hardware). The website provides a one-stop shop for you to find and download critical operating system updates, security fixes, software patches, as well as free upgrades or beta software. When you visit the Windows Update website, Windows Update scans your computer and determines if any updates are available for the software and hardware on your computer.
To use Windows Update, you need to be connected to the Internet - so be sure your computer is connected to the Internet before you start. To run Windows Update:
- Click the Start button on the taskbar.
- Click "All Programs" on the Start menu and then click "Windows Update." A browser window will open to the Windows Update home page. The web page includes two buttons: Express and Custom. Clicking "Express" (recommended) displays all high-priority updates so you can install them in just a few clicks. Clicking "Custom" displays high-priority and optional software and hardware updates that can help improve how some programs or devices work. You then can select or de-select which options to install.
- Click "Express" or "Custom." A message appears, indicating that Windows Update is checking for latest updates on your computer. After the review is complete, a page appears with a list of suggested updates. In addition to listing the updates and details on what each update addresses, the page also lists the download size and estimated installation time, based on your connection speed.
- If you have selected "Custom," you will have the option to select or de-select which updates to install. Select the updates to install and then click the "Review and Install Updates" link to continue (if you have selected "Express," you will not have this option).
- Click the "Install Updates" button.
- If an End User License Agreement (EULA) window appears, review the EULA and then click the "I Accept" button. A window appears, indicating that updates are being installed. A status bar shows overall progress, while a status box in the center shows the progress for downloading, initiating, and installing each update.
- When the installation is complete, a window will appear, indicating that you have successfully updated your computer. If the window includes a message that you must restart your computer for the updates to take effect, click the "Restart Now" button to complete the installation. If not, click the "Close" button.
- A Web page appears listing your installation results, showing which updates were installed successfully, which failed, and any that are remaining.
Congratulations! You have successfully installed the most recent Windows updates on your computer.
To ensure that your computer stays up-to-date, you should run Windows Update at least once a week. If it's unlikely you'll remember to run Windows Update that often, consider using the Automatic Update feature built into Windows XP. When you turn on Automatic Updates, you don't have to run Windows Update manually; instead, Windows automatically downloads and installs high-priority updates for you. Or, if you want to download and install updates yourself, set Automatic Updates to notify you whenever any high-priority updates become available and then download and install them when you're ready.
To turn on Automatic Updates:
- Click "Start" and then click "Control Panel" on the Start menu.
- In Category view, click "Security Settings" and then click "Automatic Updates" in the Security Center window (if your computer is set to use Classic View, simply click "Automatic Updates" in the Control Panel window).
- If you want to have updates installed automatically, click "Automatic" (recommended) and then select the day(s) and time(s) you want Windows to install updates.
- If you prefer more control, select the option to download updates but choose when to install them or choose the option to notify you when updates are available.
- Click the "OK" button.
With tools like Windows Update and Automatic Updates, it's simple to download and install Windows the latest security patches and software updates, helping ensure your computer's security and performance are top-notch.