How to know if Windows is up to date

To make sure Windows is up to date, you can set the operating system to update automatically or visit the Windows Update Web site. How can I make sure Windows is up to date?

– It seems like every week there is news about some newly discovered vulnerability or bug fix in Windows. And, of course, the stories tell us that everyone must rush out and install the hotfixes immediately or the world will come to an end. Or something like that. In fact, Microsoft announces weekly updates to us. With such a fast rate, how should you stay on top of things and make sure your system is up to date? There are several options.

– Microsoft provides a service that runs on your machine and – in control words – automatically checks for Windows updates. Once found, they can be downloaded and installed for you. The specific labels vary slightly between versions of Windows, but to configure them, click Windows Update Automatic Update in the Windows Control Panel. In Windows 7, this is the Windows Update options dialog: You have four basic options how automatic update control works.

1. Don’t check for updates – as you might expect this basically turns the auto-update feature on.

2. Check for updates, but let me choose whether to download and install – with this setting, Windows Update only checks the Microsoft site for updates, and if there are any that apply to your machine, it will notify you, and nothing plus. You can then choose to download and install, or not.

3. Download updates, but let me choose whether to install them – With this approach, Windows Update will search the Microsoft site for updates and download any that actually apply. Once downloaded, you are notified that they are available and can start the installation at your convenience.

4. Install updates automatically – Lastly, you can just have Windows Update do it all, on a schedule you can define. Check, download and install updates as soon as they are available. (Note that depending on the updates you receive, your computer may be rebooted as part of this process.)

In Windows 7 you can also control whether the process should include both important and recommended updates, or just important. (You can receive important and other updates by visiting the Windows Update Web site, which I’ll discuss later.) Windows 7 also lets you specify that all users can install system updates through Windows Update and whether or not Windows Update should also update another Microsoft software on your machine (also known as “Microsoft Update” instead of just “Windows Update”).

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