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Keep Your Computer's Operating System Up-to-Date (Windows)

We strongly recommend that you update your operating system on a regular basis with the latest security patches, updates, and drivers. This will ensure that your computer is up-to-date and will help keep your computer free from viruses and other security threats.

Get Manual Updates

Windows 7 & Vista

  1. Go to Start > All Programs > Windows Update. The Windows Update window of the Control Panel will open.
  2. In the Windows Update window, click Change Settings (at left).
  3. Under Choose how Windows can install updates:
    • From the Important updates drop-down menu, select Install updates automatically. This will ensure that future updates are downloaded and installed automatically.
    • Under Microsoft Update, check the box next to Give me updates for Microsoft products..... This will ensure your Microsoft software (e.g., MS Word) gets updated automatically.
    • Click OK.
  4. To check for updates manually, click Check for updates (at left). Windows Update will scan your computer and generate a list of available updates that need to be installed. Click Install Updates. The screen will reload and display a progress bar to illustrate the update process.
    Note: Depending of the number of updates you need to install, this process may take an hour or more. Your computer may become slow or unresponsive during this period and may even have to restart one or more times. Please plan accordingly.
  5. You should run Windows Update until you have all available updates installed on your computer. This may require going through the process more than once, since some updates will only become available after a prerequisite update has been installed. After the updates are complete, close the Windows Update window.

Windows XP

  1. Go to Start > All Programs > Windows Update. The Windows Update Web site (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/) will open.
    Note: Depending on your browser's security settings and the length of time you've gone without downloading windows updates, you may have to run new browser controls (ActiveX) or update the Windows Update software. Follow the prompts on the Windows Update page.
  2. On the Windows Update page, click Express to get the most important updates automatically or Custom if you wish to select from a list of recommended and optional updates available for your computer. Windows Update will scan you computer to see which updates you need.
  3. When the scan is complete, Windows Update will tell you if there are any critical updates available. We recommend that you always download the latest critical updates. Click Review and Install Updates, then click Install Updates.
    Note: You should run Windows Update until you have all available updates installed on your computer. This may require going through the process more than once, since some updates will only become available after a prerequisite update has been installed.

Get Automatic Updates

We recommend that you set your computer to download and install critical updates automatically:

Windows 7

  1. Go to Start > All Programs > Windows Update. The Windows Update window of the Control Panel will open.
  2. In the Windows Update window, click Change Settings (at left).
  3. Under Choose how Windows can install updates:
    • From the Important updates drop-down menu, select Install updates automatically. This will ensure that future updates are downloaded and installed automatically.
    • Under Microsoft Update, check the box next to Give me updates for Microsoft products..... This will ensure your Microsoft software (e.g., MS Word) gets updated automatically.
    • Click OK.

Windows Vista

  1. Go to Start > All Programs > Windows Update. In the Windows Update window, click Change settings (at left) and select the radio button next to Install updates automatically (recommended).
  2. Under Update Service, make sure the check box next to Use Microsoft Update is selected, and click OK (at bottom).

Windows XP

  1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Automatic Updates. In the Automatic Updates window, select Automatic and click OK.