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Updating Windows

Thursday, November 11th, 2004 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help
 
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Updating Windows

If you’re running a newer version of Windows, you’ve probably noticed the Windows Update item when you press your Start button. What is that all about?

Windows update is actually a really cool little feature. You know how Windows tends to have a few bugs? Well, these updates take care of bugs, security holes, and lots of other problematic stuff. Who knows, if you’re having problems, this may actually cure them!

OK, if you’re NOT running XP (see below for XP instructions), click the Windows Update item in your Start menu and it takes you to Microsoft’s web site.

If you don’t have the little Windows Update item on your Start menu, don’t worry. You can still get up to date by following the link below:

http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com/

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Once you get to the site, you’ll be asked if you want to install a plug-in.

Say, “Yes.”

From there, your computer will be analyzed and you’ll get a list of updates you can install. Oh, for those who are worried, supposedly no information is sent to Microsoft during the analysis. It’s just you between you and their software. So, if you are using a “borrowed” copy of Windows you should be OK doing this :-)

Anyhow, once your computer has been analyzed, you’ll get a list of available updates. Just check the ones you want and then click the Download button. Keep a really good eye on the file sizes – not the download time. If you’re connecting with a dial-up connection I would allow about 6 -8 minutes for each 1000K (MS tends to think in terms of high speed connections when they give you their estimated times).

What updates should you get? Well, grab any critical updates for sure. Then scroll down the list and see if you spot anything else that looks useful. Don’t just grab stuff ‘cuz it’s free – you may just be taking up hard drive space for no reason.

Anyhow, once you hit the download button, you’ll get a screen that shows you the progress of both the download and the install. You’ll probably have to re-start after all this is over with, but that’s about it.

XP Users

For XP Users, the process is a bit more streamlined. In fact, it should ask you via a little bubble in the system tray if you want to check for updates. After you’ve done this, you should be able to set things up so updates are checked for automatically and you just say “yes” when you want to download.

Note that not all the updates are downloaded with the automatic option though. By default, it’s only the critical updates. So, you may want to use the following method too:

To manually pick and choose your updates, just click the Start button, Help & Support . Click the link for “Keep your computer up-to-date with Windows Update” under the Pick A Task category.

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From here, your computer will be analyzed, examined, poked, and prodded. And again, for those who are worried, supposedly no information is sent to Microsoft during the analysis. It’s just you between you and their software.

Once this analysis is over, you’ll get a link that lets you review and install. Click that.

The updates come in 3 different flavors (Critical, Windows, and Driver categories) and these are listed on the left under the Windows Update column.

image

Click a category and choose the updates you want to add.

What updates should you get? Well, grab any critical updates for sure. Then scroll down the list and see if you spot anything else that looks useful. Don’t just grab stuff ‘cuz it’s free – you may just be taking up hard drive space for no reason.

Once you’re done picking updates, click the Review and Install link on the left.

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Hit the Install Now button and the updates will be downloaded and installed.

Yeah, it seems longer and more involved than the win 9.x way, but it is more intuitive and it feels a bit easier.

Happy updating!

~ Steve

** Microsoft NEVER sends updates via email, so if you get a message claiming to be an update, DO NOT open the attachment—it contains a virus.

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