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What is Windows Update?

What is Windows Update?

Windows Update is the online extension of Windows that helps you to keep your computer up to date. You can use Windows Update to choose updates for your computer’s operating system, software, and hardware such as system files, device drivers, service packs, and new Windows features. This should only take a few minutes to do on campus; however, if you are using a dial-up connection, the process may take longer.

What are Product Updates?

Product updates are a catalog of fixes, updates, and enhancements to Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office Products. Look at the catalog and download any and all security updates and software patches that apply to your installed software. You can download all of these security patches and updates from the Web and install them to your computer.

Updating Your System Files Using Windows Update

Updating your system files through Windows Update is a relatively simple process. Below you will find instructions on how to do this in Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. Note that if  you are using a Windows 2000 or XP machine, you must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group in order to complete this procedure.

Updating Windows XP via Windows Update

  1. Using Internet Explorer, go to the Windows Update web site at If you get an error message, try again later as this means that the web site is too busy.
  2. Click Scan for Updates directly on the homepage. A catalog of Windows Updates will appear after you have scanned.

Updating Microsoft Office

  1. Click the Office Update link at the top of the page.
  2. Click the Check for Updates link on the Office Update Page. After scanning is completed, you will be presented with a catalog of Office updates.

Updating Windows Vista/Windows 7

  1. Click the Start Orb in the taskbar.
  2. Click Control Panel.
  3. Depending on your Control Panel layout, you will either need to click Check for Updates under the Security category or click Windows Update and then Check for Updates.
  4. Click Install Now to install any available updates.

What Do I Need to Do?

Product updates make it easy to download updates and enhancements to the software on your computer. We recommend that you do this on a monthly basis and every time you install any new software. The following steps apply to updating both Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office.

  1. Browse the catalog of updates.
  2. When you decide you want to update a certain component, click the box next to it. A check mark will then appear in the box. Before you choose to download a component, click the Read this first link for important information including a more detailed description of the component, how to begin using the component, instructions for uninstalling, and the support policy.
  3. When you have selected all the components you want (you may un-check any selected components you don’t want), click Download.
  4. A page will then appear with a list of all the updates to be performed. If there are any components you want to update but aren’t on the list or if there are any you want to remove, click the Back button.
  5. Click the Start Download button to begin downloading and installing.
  6. When you see the Installation Complete message, you are done updating. Note that some components may require you to restart your computer after installation.

Important Notes

  • Be sure to download any Critical or Important updates that are recommended for your system. Critical updates will fix known problems (such as security issues) specific to your computer.
  • The first time you go to the Windows Updates page, click Yes when prompted to install any required software or controls.

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