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Microsoft Update and Auto Update in Windows Vista :


Q. How can I enable Microsoft Update?

Microsoft offers two types update service. “Windows update” will update your Windows operating system but not any affiliated Microsoft programs such as MS Office. “Microsoft Update” on the other hand will update not only the operating system but all Microsoft products you may have installed. The latter is recommended as the default choice for most users. However, many computers are initially set at the factory to only receive the “Windows Update” service. To enable Microsoft Update:

  1. Use Internet Explorer and go to
  2. If you are not subscribed to Microsoft Update, you will see the notices indicated below by the red arrows. Click on the green “Go” and install Microsoft Update.


Q. How can I automatically receive the updates?

It is highly recommended that you set up your computer to automatically receive these updates.

  1. Click the Vista "Start button" and click on "Control Panel".

  2. Double-click "Windows Update" :

  3. In Windows Update, click "Change settings":

  4. Make sure there is a checkmark next to "Use Microsoft Update" near the bottom of the screen. This is an alternate way to ensure that you are receiving all possible Microsoft updates for your software.

    Here you can also set your operating system to automatically receive the updates from Microsoft.  You are presented with a few choices:


    1. Install updates automatically (recommended) ” – This is the preferred option for most desktop computer users. Choose this option if you know you can schedule a certain regular time during the week to receive the updates. The computer needs to be left on and connected to the internet during that selected time. Since the update procedure will keep your computer busy for a while, its best to schedule a time when you think you wont be using the computer, such as during your lunch break, or overnight.

      The "automatic" option is convenient for office workers or others who use desktop computers and who keep regular hours and can therefore schedule a regular time when their computer should check for updates. For most mobile laptop users however, this is not a good option, since generally mobile laptops are not used at regular or predictable hours, or with an always reliable internet connection. Laptop users may prefer the second option, described below

      In a typical "automatic" scenario, if you were to schedule your updates to take place overnight, the computer goes into “sleep” mode when it is idle (rather than being turned off). When in "sleep mode", the computer is able to “wake” itself up at the scheduled time, receive any updates and install them automatically, and then go back into sleep mode.  This is usually done at night or during a lunch break when no none is using the computer.

      While the computer can wake itself out of sleep mode, if the computer is instead actually turned off or powered down, the update will not happen. So the user needs to make sure that as the scheduled time approaches, the computer will be left powered on or at least left in sleep mode.

    2. Download updates for me but let me choose when to install them”: If you are a laptop user you may prefer option because in this scenario, you have more control over when and how the updates are installed. If you select this option, Windows will download any available updates but will not install them just yet – rather, it will notify you with an information bubble in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen when the updates are ready to be installed.  When you see the notification, you should click it at your earliest convenience to finish the installation process.


Q. How can I manually receive the updates?

There may be situations where you might prefer to manually receive all available updates in one sitting, such as when you first receive a new computer and wish to obtain all available updates immediately, or if you have just reinstalled your operating system to its factory default settings.

You can manually view and install all available updates at any time, regardless of whether you have also set them to be received automatically as well.

In order to view and install all available updates manually, go to the Windows update dialog as in the previous set of instructions, and then simply click either "Install updates" or "View available updates":


If you are presented with a list of available updates, simply select all of them and click the "Install Updates" button, and the download and installation process will commence. Depending on how many updates have been selected, this process can take anywhere from just a few minutes to an hour or more, and the system may request that you reboot your computer several times.


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Last Updated 01/25/10

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