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Windows Update FAQ

Windows Update FAQ

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

Yes. The easiest way to get security updates automatically is to go to Control Panel and make sure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Learn more about how to get security updates automatically.

Windows 8

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.
  2. Type Windows Update in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Turn automatic updating on or off.
  3. In Windows Update, choose the settings that you want.

Windows 7

  1. Open Windows Update by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Update.
  2. In the left pane, click Change settings.
  3. Under Important updates, choose the option that you want.
  4. Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box, and then click OK. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month.

In Windows 7 or Windows Vista, click Start, and then click Control Panel. Click System & Security, and then under Windows Update, click View installed updates.

To view your update history in Windows 8

  1. Open Windows Update in Control Panel by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or, if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Windows Update in the search box, tapping or clicking Settings, and then tapping or clicking Install optional updates.

  2. In the left pane, tap or click View update history.

Yes. Windows Update provides very important updates for performance and security, so we'll let you know if an update can't be installed.

Windows has an automatic troubleshooter that can fix some common problems with Windows Update.

Click Start, and in the search box, type Troubleshooter. Click Find and fix problems. To run the Windows Update troubleshooter, under System & Security, click Fix problems with Windows Update.

To troubleshoot Windows Update in Windows 8

  • Open the Windows Update troubleshooter by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering Troubleshooting in the search box, tapping or clicking Settings, and then tapping or clicking Troubleshooting. Under System and Security, tap or click Fix problems with Windows Update.

For more information about troubleshooting problems with Windows Update in Windows 8, see Troubleshoot problems with installing updates.

Not yet. Downloading updates only saves the update files to your computer. You must then install the updates 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 automatic updating 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.

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

If you are an IT professional or a system administrator, or if you’d like additional information about security updates, go to Security TechNet or read the Microsoft Security Response Center Blog.

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. This means you will no longer receive security updates, fixes, or online technical support for PCs that are still running Windows XP. Learn more about Windows 8.