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Healthy Passwords

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How to Check Windows Update

The Information Technology world knows that the second Tuesday of every month is "Microsoft patch Tuesday". If you haven't noticed anything on your system by the second Thursday of the month, you should check your settings.

Windows 7

Expand the start menu by clicking on the Windows icon or pressing CTRL+ESC or the Windows Key.

Type "Windows Update" into the search bar. You will see Windows update under programs at the top of the list. Click on it.

You will see an explorer window at Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update

Windows 7 Control Panel Windows Update image

The screen above shows how it will look if there are udpates to install. The number of updates and sizes will vary based on your computer and the number of available patches. The important part is to Install the updates. If you do nothing, it should update when you shutdown. It's probably better to just force the update if you check and see updates available.

If no updates are available, you should click change settings. The following screen will display:

Windows 7 Windows Update Settings Screen

Install updates automatically is the best option to use. This should install patches within a few days of release, depending on your settings. It's best to use Install New updates "Every Day" and choose a time that your computer is usually turned on.

Windows XP

Select the start menu then select control panel

From control Panel, select "Automatic Updates" by double clicking on it.

Windows XP Control Panel

The automatic updates dialog will appear.

Windows XP Automatic Updates Dialog

The best option is Windows XP is automatic, but be warned that Windows XP has a habit of rebooting idle computers. If you leave your computer up and have automatic updates set for Windows XP, you may lose work if you leave unsaved documents open. Windows 7 has fixed this by making automatic updates add a notification to the shutdown button showing updates are ready to be applied.

If you regularly leave unsaved work in XP, "Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them." may be a better option for you. When updates are ready, you will see a small tray icon Windows XP tray icon showing updates ready

If you find any inaccuracies in this post, please respond using Disqus comments.

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