Description of the Automatic Updates feature in Windows
This article was previously published under Q294871
This article describes the Automatic Updates feature in Microsoft Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
For more information about Automatic Updates in Windows 7, click the link below to view the article on the Microsoft Website:
The Automatic Updates feature is included with Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. With the Automatic Updates feature, Windows can automatically keep the computer up to date with the latest updates and enhancements. You no longer have to search for critical updates and information; Windows delivers them directly to the computer. 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 icon appears in the notification area every time new updates are available.
You can specify how and when you want Windows to update the computer. For example, you can set up Windows to automatically download and install updates on a schedule that you specify. Or, you can have Windows notify you whenever it finds updates available for the computer. Windows will then download the updates in the background. This lets you continue to work uninterrupted. After the download is complete, an icon appears in the notification area with a message that the updates are ready to be installed. When you click the icon or message, you can install the new updates in several simple steps. If you do not install a specific update that has been downloaded, Windows deletes its files from the computer. If you change your mind later, you can download the update again by restoring declined updates.
For more information on how to configure Automatic Updates, see the article below for your version of Windows.
For Windows 7, click the link below to view the article on the Microsoft Website:
Windows Vista, click the link below to view the article on the Microsoft Website:
Windows XP, click the link below to view the article on the Microsoft Website:
306525 How to configure and use Automatic Updates in WindowsFor more information about how to configure Automatic Updates by using Group Policy or registry settings, 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 settingsFor 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 Server 2003, in Windows XP, and in Windows 2000
- To modify Automatic Updates settings, you must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group. If the computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing this procedure.
- Windows may prompt you to restart the computer after certain components are installed. Restart the computer when you are prompted; otherwise, the computer may not work correctly.
- You can always install specific updates from the Windows Update Web site or from the Microsoft Update Web site. The Windows Update Catalog and the Microsoft Update Catalog are available for advanced users and administrators who want to download updates to install later or install on one or more computers that run Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
- For more information about how to download updates from 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
- IT Professionals can use the Automatic Updates feature and either Windows Update or Microsoft Update to configure a server on their corporate network to provide updates to corporate servers and clients. This functionality can be useful in environments where some clients and servers do not have access to the Internet, or where the environment is highly managed and the corporate administrator must test the updates before deploying them.
- For information about how to troubleshoot Windows Update issues or Microsoft Update issues, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Article ID: 294871 - Last Review: 03/27/2012 03:31:00 - Revision: 10.0
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