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Security updates FAQ

Security updates FAQ

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Microsoft security updates.

Yes. Each Microsoft security update addresses a specific issue. Unless you install the update, you will not be protected from that particular issue.

Not yet. Downloading only saves the update files to your computer, installing enables them to go to work to help protect your computer.

If you use Microsoft Update, the updates you select are downloaded and installed at the same time. If you have configured your Windows Automatic Updates feature to download updates but not install them, you will get a notice like the following when the updates have downloaded:

New updates are ready to install. This notice appears after the download is complete. If you see this notice, don't delay. Click the balloon to install the updates right away.

New updates are ready to install. This notice appears after the download is complete. If you see this notice, don’t delay. Click the balloon to install the updates right away.

Yes. The latest versions of Windows include an Automatic Updates feature, which allows you to schedule downloads and install them on a schedule that you specify.

Whenever major security updates are released, Microsoft sends instant message or email alerts to subscribers of our free notification service.

Learn more about getting IM or email notification about security alerts.

The Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) has developed a rating system to help customers determine which updates to install first. The severity rating system provides a rating from "low" to "critical" for each computer vulnerability.

Learn about the severity rating system.