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Microsoft Windows Automatic Updates Explained

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#1 Guest_MrSnausage_*


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Posted 20 March 2004 - 12:01 AM

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Microsoft Windows Automatic Updates Explained

Windows, just like any other operating system, tends to have bugs in the programming of the operating system.  These bugs could be a security risk that may allow hackers to break into your computer, slow down the performance of your computer and its applications, and downright crash your computer so it is almost unusable.  When these bugs are found, Microsoft releases patches and updates to the Windows operating system so that windows users can download these patches and install them, and hopefully fixing the problems they may be having.  In the past you had to go to Microsoft's site or have a CD sent to you in order to get these updates, but now with the cheap and fast Internet access, Microsoft is using a service that will automatically download these updates to your computer, and notify you so that you can install them.  This service is called Microsoft Windows Automatic Updates.

This application was introduced in Windows 98 as an optional download, and now comes built into the operating system for Windows XP. This service runs in the background so you normally do not notice it unless there are updates available.  The application will routinely connect to Microsoft Windows Update servers to determine if there are new updates available. If there are new updates available, it will compare those available updates against a list of updates already installed on your computer. If the new update is not installed on your computer, the Automatic Update service will download the update to your computer and notify you. This notification will come in the form of a small icon near your time.  If you double click on that icon, it will give you the options of getting detailed information about the updates and then installing them.

Automatic Updates does not require much configuration, but in case you feel it is not turned or there are some options you would like to tweak there is a settings screen that you can go to.  In order to view these settings you would do the following steps for your respective operating system:

Windows 2000:

  1. Click on the Start Menu
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Click on Control Panel.
  4. You will then see an icon called Automatic Update.  Double click that icon to get to the settings window.

Windows XP:

  1. Minimize all the windows so you can see your desktop.
  2. Right click once on My Computer
  3. Left click once on properties.
  4. In the properties window, click on the Automatic Updates tab to see the settings

The settings are self explanatory.  You should make sure you have a check in the "Keep my computer up to date" checkbox.  You should also set the Settings for "Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed.".  The reason I do not have you use the option for automatically installing the updates is because many of the updates require you to reboot your computer, and if you not present at the computer when it installs the updates and reboot, you have the potential for losing information that you were working.  With these options configured you will now start to receive the updates and patches from Microsoft and be notified when they are ready to be installed.

It is important that install the updates when they become available. By installing these updates you are guaranteed to have all the released security updates and operating system fixes installed on your computer which will make your computer more secure and stable. Most cases of computers being hacked tends to be because they have not been updated in a long time. I can not stress the important of updating the operating system on your computers when updates become available.


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