How to Manage Microsoft Updates

Ever feel overwhelmed with the number of updates you always seem to need for your Windows operating system? There may be a great number of downloads that your computer is set to automatically download and not all of them are necessary. Changing the settings of your computer so that you can select which downloads you want can really decrease the number of updates you will need, and reduce unnecessary space being taken up on your hard drive. It can also reduce the time it takes to download and process updates on your computer making it less frustrating. This may sound nice, but how can you tell which downloads are really necessary or not?

Follow these simple steps to streamline your Windows Updates experience.


Getting the Updates you Need

Windows Update is an application that helps Windows users to manage their updates. It is part of the Windows Control Panel, and to access it on Vista and 7

Click Start

> Control Panel

> System and Maintenance

> Windows Update.

From here you can see whether your computer needs any updates, turn on or off automatic update downloads, and view installed updates. Windows gives you 4 options for setting up automatic updates.

  • Install Updates Automatically
  • Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
  • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
  • Never Check for Updates

The default option for Windows is the first, and this is the no-hassle option that is best for most Windows Vista and 7 users, but selecting one of the other options you can better control the updates that are downloaded to your computer. The last option is never recommended to use. This could serious compromise your computer’s functioning and safety.

How to Select an Update

When you choose one of the middle options from Windows Update you will receive notification from Windows when updates are available. It will also give you information about whether these updates are required are not to help you choose the updates that you need, versus ones that you may not. In general updates will fall into either one of two categories:

1. Important/Urgent: These updates should always be selected and downloaded. They are required in order to make existing programs run efficiently and to protect them from viruses and spyware.

2. Optional: These updates are not always required and do not necessarily affect the functioning of the programs they are for. The best tip for selecting these updates is only to choose those that are for programs that you actually use. You can also do a quick search online to find out whether these updates will really make a difference or not. Remember though to never download these updates from any other source than through Windows Update to protect your PC.

Changing the settings of Windows Update on your PC can really reduce the number of unnecessary updates you download to your computer and can make the process of keeping your PC up-to-date less frustrating and hassle-free!


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