Why should I care about Windows Update

Don’t you get every other week a pop-up Windows notification from Microsoft Windows Update? A lot of people will ignore these messages and others will even turn Windows Update off when in fact they you paid a little more of attention. Today I am going to explain what a Windows Update is and help you how to configure the settings to install them.

Windows Update settings page

Do you get a pop-up every other week from Windows notification from Microsoft Windows Update? A lot of people will ignore these messages and others will even turn Windows Update off when in fact they should have paid a little more of attention.

Today I am going to explain what a Windows Update is and help you how to configure the settings to install them.

Definition: Windows Update is a piece of programming code that is released from time to time from Microsoft to fix problems or prevent them and add & improve functionalities of your overall system as part of their maintenance and support service.

Analogy: Software update is like renting a house (the house will represent Windows) with a broken door (the broken door will represent a feature inside Windows that is not working correctly). What you normally would do it’s to call your landlord (this is an automatic process in Windows that contact Microsoft about the problem) then the person responsible (here is where Microsoft will look and find an update for the problem) will come to your house and fix the broken door (the tools and components to repair the broken door will represent, in this case, a Windows Update) and depending of your settings, even if you don’t have any problems, your computer will contact Microsoft Windows Update service for updates to prevent problems or improve functionalities; etc. As far as I know, most of the times, Windows Updates will be available every second Tuesday of the month A.K.A “Patch Tuesday” or whenever an update is really important for your system.

Type of Windows Updates:

Critical updates: Fixes specific critical problems but not Security related.

Security updates: Fixes specific security vulnerability (security means all computer access related, most of the time is network access)

Service pack: It’s a set of copulatives updates (here also are included all before released Security Updates, Critical Updates and fixes), new updates, plus additional improvements and functionalities.

For more information on software updates descriptions refer to this support article from Microsoft Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates

To know what the update is about, follow these steps:

1.   Click Start in the search box “Search programs and files” type windows update

2.  In the search result under Programs title, click on Windows Update

3.  The “Windows Update” window will open and click on “Check for updates”. See image 1.

Windows 7 Update Window Setting

Click image to expand. Image 1.

4.  If there is any new updates click on the link where it shows the total number of updates, if there are not updates you can click on “View update history” and double click an update from the list to read about it. See image 1.

5. Now you will see a list of updates, click to select an update and look to the right of the window to read what is the update about, from here you can also select which updates to install or not, if you wish. See image 2.

Select Windows 7 Updates

Click image to expand. Image 2.

To change your Windows Updates settings, follow these steps:

-Should work in Windows Vista & Windows 7

1.  Click  Start in the search box “Search programs and files” type “windows update

2.  In the search result under Programs title, click on Windows Update

3.  The“Windows Update” window will open and click on “Change Settings”. See image 1.

4.  When the “Change Settings” window opens, read well and make your choices (options are self explanatory). Don’t forget to click “Ok” at the bottom of the window to save your new settings. See image2 and for Windows Vista, see Image 3.

Windows 7 Update Settings

Click image to expand. Image 3.

Windows Vista Update Settings window

Click image to expand. Image 4.

What I would recommend is, if your computer is not ON all the time, to change “Install new updates:” settings to a time that you know your computer is ON  and you are not doing important work (this makes it easier for Windows to install updates), because you may need to restart your computer to finish installing the update(s).

Note: If you have any “optional” updates, here you will find non-critical updates, software updates and hardware drivers that you can select. Click “Ok” and then click on “Install Updates” button to install.

Conclusion

Keeping your computer up to date is good and for Critical & Security updates, even more.

There always are going to be people trying to compromise your system or trying to get information from you for their own gain. Applying software updates not only will secure your computer but it will also fix problems that Windows might have, besides getting  improvements and maybe some additional features that are always welcome. This is why I would not recommend turning Windows Update off on your system.

Microsoft not only offers Windows updates but it also can supply you with other products updates that are non-Microsoft and also hardware drivers, but of course that the software vendor needs to register with Microsoft in other for you to get them through Microsoft Windows Update service. And don’t worry Microsoft Windows updates are Free!