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Keeping Your System Secure With Windows Update.

Updated on July 21, 2014

What is Windows Update?

Windows Update is a service that provides updates online for Windows 7. These updates include performance improvements, support for new devices and security updates. The Windows update application is located in the System and Security section of the Control Panel. It also can be opened from the All Programs or the Tools menu on the menu bar (not the Tools button on the toolbar in Internet Explorer). Windows Update can be configured to work quietly in the background to keep your computer up to date with the latest fixes and improvements. I find it good practice to check the list of available updates at least once a month to find optional updates such as non-essential fixes and hardware driver updates. Windows Update lets you know if optional or important updates are available for you to download. Windows Update is not a web- based interface, but does require an active Internet connection. Keeping Windows up to date is essential to maintain a secure computer.

What Does Windows Update Download and Install?

Updates are classified into categories, which are:

Important: These updates include critical performance and security updates.

Recommended: These updates apply to signed drivers that effect reliability or performance, and fixes to bugs that are non-critical.

Security Updates: These updates are routinely released on the second Tuesday of each month, which is also known as "Patch Tuesday". These are the most important updates and are also included in the important category. Other updates are published when needed and are not published on a regular basis.



Changing Update Settings.

To view your update settings in detail, click Change Setting on the left side of the Windows Update page. This page lets you specify the degree of automation that you desire. Under Important Updates you will find a drop down box that will let you specify when and how you want Important updates to be downloaded and installed. You can specify a time (for example, every day at 2AM.) When this option is selected, Windows Update will also reboot your system if required. If you don't choose to have this level of automation, you can choose have updates downloaded but not installed until you give it the go-ahead. You can opt to be notified when updates are available, allowing you to both download and install updates on demand. Windows notifies you with a pop up message when new updates are available to you.

By checking the box below Recommended Updates, Windows Update applies the same level of automation to recommended updates that it applies to important updates.Windows Update refrains from downloading Optional Updates, regardless of your setting for important updates.

Removing an Update.

If you find that there is a problem with a particular update, you can try to remove it. Security related updates usually cannot be removed. Also updates in which other updates or Windows features are dependent upon cannot be removed. If you choose to remove an update, click Installed Updates on the left side pane. Doing this will take you to a page within the Programs section of the Control panel that will list all uninstallable updates. If you want to see a list of all the updates that have been installed you need to click View Update History on the left pane of the Windows Update page.

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