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Setting Up Automatic Updates

Monday, October 11th, 2010 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management, Security Help, System Tune-Up Help

Ryan B. from Spokane, Washington asks:

I have a question about updates. I have an antivirus and firewall program installed and they always notify me when they have updated everything; I figure that’s good since they are the most important. I also have Windows Update. I am very busy and get tired of having Windows Update nagging me to update all of the time but I do end up installing the updates eventually. I know that as long as I update at all, it’s enough. Is it really necessary to update my computer as often as Windows Update says? Do any other programs need to updated more? I hate updating, it’s a bore. I never remember when I’m supposed to do it, anyway..

First, thanks for writing, Ryan; this is a really good (and very important) question to ask.

First off, let me say three things:

#1: You’re right; your antivirus and firewall programs are at the top of the list of programs to be updated regularly. However, there are other important programs to update consistently, such as your antispyware programs (if you don’t have any – and you need one – click here to take a look at some possibilities).

#2: Windows Update is definitely necessary and I am really sorry it nags you. That little yellow whatever-it-is with the exclamation point in the middle of it is irritating, to say the least, if only because it never goes away!

#3: Finally, you have to update these programs on a regular basis since there are new flaws and malware and new harmful-to-your-computer’s-well-being code written every day. Updating your programs assures you that you are one step ahead of the bad guys. It’s all about up-to-date protection.

And Ryan, I agree; updating programs yourself is – at best – a mundane, tedious, ho-hum, dull, monotonous, boring, dreary, seemingly-endless way of spending your time. Besides, who has time to remember to do a mundane, tedious, ho-hum, dull, monotonous, boring, dreary, seemingly-endless way of spending your time when you have anything else to do? Watching paint dry is probably more fun than sitting there waiting for 63 updates to complete. And it’s quicker, too.

Where were we? Oh, yes, updating is a mundane, tedious, blah-blah-blah thing to do manually. So let’s cut to the chase and set Windows to update automatically, that way you won’t have that symbol to deal with anymore.

Windows Updates:

To set Windows Updates to automatically update your system, go to the Windows Update website’s home page (duh).

Now when I went to it (and I was using Firefox), here’s what I got:


Okay, so I’ll do what it says.



And then you get directed to the web page (Note: I am on a Vista computer, consequently your view may be different.)


The box below pops up. Notice all of the different options. Click on the little arrow to the right of the long box. A list of options will drop down; select Install updates automatically (recommended) and then click OK.


Now choose a time that you want it to update your system. I chose to update my computer every day at 3:00 AM. Click on any of the little arrows to change the time and day.


You’re all set! Now you don’t have to worry about Windows Updates nagging you any more; it will just update itself at whatever time you chose.

If you don’t have any anti-spyware programs installed, please find one (there are a lot of good ones for free) and install it! Once again, here’s the link to find what you need.

Just remember: Anything that you need to update on a regular basis rarely comes without an automatic update feature. So go forth and auto-update! And thanks again for writing!

~ Lori Cline

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