What Are Updates?

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What are updates?

Updates are additions to software that can prevent or fix problems, enhance the security of the computer, or improve the computer’s performance.

We strongly recommend that you turn on Windows automatic updating so that Windows can install security and other important or recommended updates for your computer as they become available. For information about turning on automatic updates,

Many software publishers notify you when an update or new version of a program is available. To see if you can sign up for product support services or set a program to automatically install updates, check the program’s Help or visit the software publisher’s website.

To see if your computer has the latest updates, see How can I tell if my computer is up to date?

Hardware manufacturers also update the software and drivers for their products periodically.

Where can I find updates?
For Windows updates, including those for programs that are included with Windows, go to Windows Update in Control Panel:

Click to open Windows Update.

In the left pane, click Check for updates.

We recommend that you turn on automatic updating so Windows can install new updates as they become available.

To find updates for the Microsoft Office System and other Microsoft software, go to the Microsoft Update website. Once you turn on Microsoft Update, this link will open Windows Update, where you can check for any new Microsoft updates. For updates for other programs and devices that you use, check the website of the publisher or manufacturer.

How do I let all users on my computer install updates?
By default, Windows only allows users with administrator user accounts to install updates. You can also allow users with standard user accounts to install updates. This can be convenient if you’re using a family computer where most of the users have standard accounts for better Internet safety or parental control. You can choose to allow standard, non-administrator users to install updates manually with this option.

To allow all users to install updates, follow these steps:

Click to open Windows Update.

In the left pane, click Change settings.

Do one of the following:

To allow standard users to install updates, select the Allow all users to install updates on this computer check box.

To prevent standard users from installing updates, clear the Allow all users to install updates on this computer check box.

If you use automatic updating for Important or Recommended updates, those updates are installed regardless of whether the current user is an administrator or not.

What do the different types of updates mean?
Updates are classified as Important, Recommended, Optional, and Featured. Here’s what they mean:

Important updates offer significant benefits, such as improved security, privacy, and reliability. They should be installed as they become available, and can be installed automatically with Windows Update.

Recommended updates address non-critical problems or help enhance your computing experience. While these updates do not address fundamental issues with your computer or Windows software, they can offer meaningful improvements. These can be installed automatically.

Optional updates can include updates, drivers, or new software from Microsoft to enhance your computing experience. You need to installed these manually.

Depending on the type of update, Windows Update can deliver the following:

Security updates: A broadly released fix for a product-specific security-related vulnerability. Security vulnerabilities are rated based on their severity, which is indicated in the Microsoft security bulletin as critical, important, moderate, or low.

Critical updates: A broadly released fix for a specific problem addressing a critical, non-security related bug.

Service Packs: A tested, cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates, as well as additional fixes for problems found internally since the release of the product. Service Packs might also contain a limited number of customer-requested design changes or features.

Do I need to download and install updates?
Yes. Updates do not take effect until they are installed, but to install updates, you must first download them to your computer. You can choose to have Windows automatically download and install updates for you, automatically download updates and notify you so you can install them yourself, or notify you to both download and install new updates yourself.

What types of updates can Windows install automatically?
You can set Windows to automatically install important and recommended updates, or to install important updates only. Important updates provide significant benefits, such as improved security and reliability. Recommended updates can address non-critical problems and help enhance your computing experience. Optional updates are not downloaded or installed automatically.

To install drivers and other optional updates
Click to open Windows Update.

In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.

If you see a message telling you that important updates are available, or that optional updates are available, click either message to view and select the updates to install.

Select the optional updates that you want, click OK, and then click Install updates. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

 

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