Article ID: 306525 - View products that this article applies to.
For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 327850.
For a Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition version of this article, see 268331.
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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to configure the Automatic Updates features in Windows to notify you when important updates are available for your computer. You can also specify the schedule that Windows follows to install updates on your computer.

Note Advanced users and IT Professionals can configure Automatic Updates by using Group Policy in an Active Directory environment, or by using registry settings in a non-Active Directory environment. For more information about how to configure Automatic Updates by using these methods, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
328010 How to configure automatic updates by using Group Policy or registry settings

Prerequisites

Use the latest version of Automatic Updates feature

This article assumes that you are using the latest Automatic Updates feature. The latest Automatic Updates feature is included with Windows XP Service Pack 2 and later, with Windows Vista, with Windows 7, with Windows 8, and with Windows 8.1. For more information about the Automatic Update feature of Windows 8 and 8.1, see the following Microsoft webpage:
Windows Update: Frequently asked questions
If you are using Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, install Windows XP SP2 or Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to obtain the latest Automatic Updates feature. If you are using Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, install Windows XP SP2 or Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to obtain the latest Automatic Updates feature. For more information about how to obtain SP2, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322389 How to obtain the latest Windows XP service pack
Note You must have either Windows XP SP1a or Windows XP SP2 installed in order to install Windows XP SP3.

Log on as computer administrator

In Windows XP Home Edition, you must be logged on as a computer administrator to install components or modify Automatic Updates settings. In Windows XP Professional, you must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group.
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/admin
In Windows Vista or in Windows 7, you will be prompted for an administrator password or confirmation.

Note If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may prevent you from completing the procedures in this article. Contact the network administrator if you do not have permission to complete these procedures.

Turn on and use Automatic Updates

Turn on Automatic Updates. To have us turn on Automatic Updates for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you would rather turn on Automatic Updates yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Fix it for me

To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix this problem link. Then click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in this wizard.
Collapse this tableExpand this table
Turn Automatic Updates onTurn Automatic Updates off
Fix this problem
Microsoft Fix it 50362
Fix this problem
Microsoft Fix it 50363


Note This wizard may be in English only; however, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.

Note If you are not on the computer that has the problem, you can save the automatic fix to a flash drive or to a CD, and then you can run it on the computer that has the problem.

Let me fix it myself

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

To turn on Automatic Updates yourself, follow these steps:
  1. Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, by pointing to the lower-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), then tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, and then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.
  2. Tap or click Choose how updates get installed.
  3. Under Important updates, select the option that you want.
  4. Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box, and then click Apply.

Windows Vista and Windows 7

To turn on Automatic Updates yourself, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, type Windows update in the search box, and then click Windows Update in the Programs list.
  2. In the left pane, click Change settings.
  3. Select the option that you want.
  4. Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates or Include recommended updates when downloading, installing, or notifying me about updates check box, and then click OK.

Windows XP

To turn on Automatic Updates yourself, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then press ENTER.
  2. Click the Automatic Updates tab, and then click to select one of the following options. We recommend that you select the Automatic (recommended) Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them option.
    • Automatic (recommended) Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them

      If you select this option, Windows recognizes when you are online and uses your Internet connection to find updates on the Windows Update Web site or on the Microsoft Update Web site that apply to your computer. Updates are downloaded automatically in the background, and you are not notified or interrupted during this process. An icon appears in the notification area of your taskbar when the updates are being downloaded. You can point to the icon to view the download status. When the download is complete, you receive another message in the notification area so that you can review the updates that are scheduled for installation.
      • Click to select the day and time for scheduled updates to download and install. You can schedule Automatic Updates for any time of day. However, your computer must be on at the scheduled time for updates to be installed.
      • You can choose to install the updates as soon as they are finished downloading. To do this, click the download message (or update icon), and then click Install. If you choose not to install the updates when they finish downloading, Windows starts the installation on your set schedule.
    • Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them

      If you select this option, Windows recognizes when you are online and uses your Internet connection to automatically download updates from the Windows Update Web site or from the Microsoft Update Web site. An icon appears in the notification area of your taskbar when the updates are being downloaded. You can point to the icon to view the download status. When the download is complete, you receive another message in the notification area so that you can review the updates that are scheduled for installation.
      • When you want to install the downloaded update, click the message (or update icon), and then click Install to install the update.
      • If you do not want to install a downloaded update, click Details, and then click to clear the check box next to that update to decline it.
    • Notify me but don't automatically download or install them

      If you select this option, Windows recognizes when you are online and uses your Internet connection to search for downloads from the Windows Update Web site or from the Microsoft Update Web site. An Automatic Updates icon and message appear in the notification area of your taskbar when new updates are available to download or to install.
      • Click the icon or message to view the updates. If you do not want to download a selected update, click to clear the check box next to that update to decline it. Click Start Download to download the selected updates. The Automatic Updates icon remains in the notification area of your taskbar while the updates are being downloaded. You can point to the icon to view the download status.
      • When the download is complete, you receive another message in the notification area stating that the updates are ready to install. Click the Automatic Updates icon or the message, and then click Install to install the updates.
  3. Click OK.
For more information about how to schedule Automatic Updates, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
327838 How to schedule automatic updates in Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows Server 2003

Have Windows remind you about pending updates

When you configure Automatic Updates to notify you before you download or install updates, Windows notifies you by displaying an icon and message in the notification area of your taskbar.

If you do not want to download or install the update immediately, click the Automatic Updates icon or message in the notification area of your taskbar, and then click Remind Me Later in the Automatic Updates dialog box. In the Reminder dialog box, you can specify the time that Windows should wait before reminding you.

If the reminder is for downloading, Windows reminds you only when you are connected to the Internet. If the reminder is for installing, Windows reminds you according to the schedule that you specify.

Pause or resume downloading

After the download process has started, you can pause or resume downloading at any time. If you close your Internet connection or restart your computer after pausing a download process, Windows automatically resumes the download process the next time that you are connected to the Internet.

To pause or resume downloading:
  1. During the download process, click the icon that is displayed in the notification area, and then click Pause.
  2. When you are ready for Windows to start to download again, click the Automatic updating icon, and then click Resume.

Restore declined updates

If you decide not to download a specific update, you can prompt Automatic Updates to offer that update again. To restore declined updates:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then press Enter.
  2. Click the Automatic Updates tab, and then click Offer updates again that I've previously hidden.
  3. Click Yes to restore declined updates.

Turn off Automatic Updates

If you want to turn off the automatic updates, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type sysdm.cpl, and then press Enter.
  2. Click the Automatic Updates tab, and then click to select Turn off Automatic Updates.
  3. Click OK.

Next steps

If these steps did not work for you, you can use the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web site to find other solutions to your problem. Some services that the Microsoft Customer Support Services Web sites provide include the following:
  • Searchable Knowledge Base: Search technical support information and self-help tools for Microsoft products.
  • Solution Centers: View product-specific frequently asked questions and support highlights.
  • Other Support Options: Use the Web to ask a question, contact Microsoft Customer Support Services, or provide feedback.

More information

Update your files by using Windows Update or by using Microsoft Update

If you decide not to use Automatic Updates, you can still install specific updates from the Windows Update Web site or from the Microsoft Update Web site. Windows Update and Microsoft Update are catalogs of items such as drivers, security fixes, important updates, current Help files, and Internet products that you can download to keep your computer up to date.

To update the system files with the latest important updates by using the Windows Update Web site or by using the Microsoft Update Web site, follow these steps:
  1. Start Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Windows Update.
  3. Click Yes if you are prompted to install any required software.

    The Windows Update home page or the Microsoft Update home page appears.
  4. Click Express Install (Recommended): High Priority Updates for Your Computer. Windows Update or Microsoft Update looks for any important updates that are available for your computer.
  5. Click Install to install all available important updates.
You can also search the Windows Update Catalog or the Microsoft Update Catalog to find updates that you can download and install later on one or more computers that run Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 across your home or corporate network.

Note We recommend that only advanced users and administrators download updates from the Windows Update Catalog or from the Microsoft Update Catalog. For more information about how to use the Windows Update Catalog, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
323166 How to download updates that include drivers and hotfixes from the Windows Update Catalog

Properties

Article ID: 306525 - Last Review: December 3, 2013 - Revision: 14.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Update
Keywords: 
kbwindowsupdatev6 kbenv kbhowtomaster kbupdate kbmsifixme kbfixme KB306525

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