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Which Windows Updates To Install?

Ray from Ft. Worth Texas writes:

I have replaced the hard drive on an older XP machine and have re-installed XP Pro and SP1, SP2 and SP3. After the installation there was still about 150 updates that MS auto updater says need to be installed. Are all of these necessary? How can I determine which ones to download and install?


Windows Updates are numerous especially if you have to reinstall your operating system. The easiest way to pick and choose which updates to install is to know what the categories microsoft groups updates in to.

Critical Updates: These are updates absolutely vital to resolve known exploits actively being used or widespread errors. It is absolutely vital you install any of these as soon as they appear.

High Priority: High priority updates are updates for bugs, possible exploits and other important updates. These should be installed unless you expressly were told not to update a certain update.

Optional: These updates are two separate sections: Software, Optional and Hardware, Optional. This type of update may have performance improvements or minor bug fixes and should only be installed if your experiencing the bugs listed in the update notes or if you need an updated feature offered.

Updates from Microsoft will have an article number which begins with KB then a series of numbers such as KB2310138. You can go to Microsoft’s site at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/XXXXXXX replace the X’s with the KB article number such as http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2310138 [1]