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Microsoft Windows Update
...how to use automatic update

Microsoft Windows update protects your computer and your valuable data by downloading and installing critical security patches and bug fixes.

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You can get automatic security updates by enabling the Automatic Update tool in Windows.

Each month, the latest Microsoft security patches, critical updates, and hot fixes are released to the general public on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, which is commonly known as "Patch Tuesday."

If Automatic Update is on, your computer will automatically download and install the Microsoft Windows update for you. The download runs in the background, but depending on your system speed and internet connection, you may experience slower performance while your computer is updated.

Tech Note: Automatic Update downloads patches for the Windows operating system and other Microsoft programs you have installed. You must have genuine Microsoft software installed to be eligible for automatic security updates.

Enabling Automatic Update

To turn on Windows Automatic Update, follow these steps XP|Vista|Windows 7:

Windows XP

  1. Click Start.
  2. Select Control Panel.
  3. Click Security Center.
    Windows Security Center icon
  4. Click the Turn on Automatic Updates button.
  5. Close Control Panel.

If you are running genuine Microsoft software, your computer will now be updated automatically at the specified time. Jump to Stopping Automatic Update.

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start.
  2. Select Control Panel.
  3. Click the Security link.
  4. Under Security Center, click Turn automatic updating on or off.
  5. In the Automatic Updates window, select Automatic (recommended). Choose the day and time that you would like updates to download and install.
    Automatic Update on
  6. Click OK.

If you are running genuine Microsoft software, your computer will now be updated automatically at the specified time. Jump to Stopping Automatic Update.

Windows 7

  1. Click Start.
  2. Select Control Panel.
  3. Click System & Security.
  4. Under Windows Update, click Turn automatic updating on or off.
  5. Select Install updates automatically (recommended). Choose the day and time that you would like updates to download and install.
  6. Click OK.

If you are running genuine Microsoft software, your computer will now be updated automatically at the specified time.

Stopping Automatic Update

Because it sometimes causes slow performance, some users prefer to turn off automatic security updates, then download and install them at their own convenience.

You can turn off Windows Automatic Update completely, or allow it to download the Microsoft update patches so you can choose when you want to install them, or only be notified when updates are available.

Caution: Turning off Automatic Update prevents all Microsoft security updates from downloading and installing. This may put your computer at risk. Microsoft highly recommends that you leave Automatic Update turned on.

To turn off Microsoft Windows updates, follow these steps:

  1. Follow the steps outlined in Enable Automatic Update to access the Security Center in your Windows operating system.
  2. In Windows XP, under Manage Security Settings for, select Automatic Updates.

    In Windows Vista, under Security Center, click Turn automatic updating on or off.

    In Windows 7, under System & Security, click Turn automatic updating on or off. Select Never check for updates. Click OK.
  3. In the Automatic Updates window, select which option you prefer:
    - Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them.
    - Notify me but don't automatically download or install them.
    - Turn off automatic updates.
    Automatic Update off
  4. Click OK.

If you turn off automatic update, make sure you manually download Microsoft Windows updates from the Microsoft Update Center on a regular schedule.



Sources:

"Security updates". Microsoft. February 10, 2009. http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/update/bulletins/default.mspx. Retrieved on 02-10-2009.

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