Windows Updates: A Basic Introduction

by hmiller 23. November 2009 23:45

Windows updates, or automatic updates, is a component of the security features on any computer running the Windows operating system. They are designed to keep your computer up to date with the latest patches and security fixes that Microsoft releases for Windows computers at any given time. They vary in size and importance, and if your computer has an Internet connection, it can receive notice from Microsoft when your computer lacks the latest update for its operating system.

These updates are not too frequent, but can quickly pile up if you do not connect to the Internet very often or if you disable your computer from automatically installing new updates.

These updates are important. Sometimes they help your computer function better. For example, if Microsoft releases an operating system, there might be a bug or glitch that arises after it has been released. Microsoft can issue a fix for this glitch and your computer can receive notice of this update automatically and, if windows updates are fully enabled, download it for your and install it right away.

There are also security updates that arise as Internet and computer threats become stronger and more pervasive. These are especially necessary if you use your computer to surf the Internet. You could actually experience an improvement in the speed and functionality of your computer after completing some Windows updates. Other updates you might recieve are newer versions of other Microsoft supported programs that are installed on your computer. You may receive automatic updates that are specifically for or related to your Office, Outlook, Adobe, and Internet Explorer programs. There is a chance that you would not want to install an update, fix, or new release, for example, if you didn’t want to take up hard drive space or you didn’t really use that program very much anyway. For the most part, however, these updates are necessary and will benefit you.

You can view or change your Windows updates settings by opening Automatic Updates in your Control Panel settings. You will see that there are different ways to handle Windows updates:
1. You can download and install updates automatically. This would mean that any time you are connected to the Internet, windows update may detect that a new update is available and download and install it immediately. This is great if you want your computer to be as updated as possible and you don’t care to make decisions about what gets installed.

2. You can specify that you would like to be notified when an update is available and choose when to download the updates yourself. This is the best option if you don’t want to download every update just because Microsoft has determined you don’t have that update. You can see a name and description of the file, choose the one(s) that you want, then download only those.

3. You can download the updates, but specify when to install them. This might be convenient for you to do if you don’t want to use system resources while you are working on the computer or uploading/downloading a large file. You can leave your computer on whenever a new update is available and let it install overnight or during the day when you are at work.

4. You can completely turn off automatic updates. This is ok temporarily, especially to free up space while downloading large files or using the computer for your own purposes. Another way it might be ok is if you do not use this computer to surf the Internet, but then you wouldn’t be getting updates anyway. If you turn off automatic updates, you will be warned by your Windows security system that your computer might be at risk, as you may be missing out on an important security update.

If you ever want to check if your computer has all the updates it needs, using Internet Explorer, visit and your computer will automatically be scanned to check for the latest updates your computer might need.


Written by Hannah Miller, Online Marketing Representative and Customer Service, is a nationwide Internet services provider that is all-American owned and operated. Call today, 1-800-336-3318 or sign up online at! Check out my blog for more articles!

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About the author

Hannah Miller is an Online Marketing Representative for - America's best provider for Dial-Up Internet Service since 1997.

Hannah has been a Customer Service and Tech Support agent for since 2007, which has supplemented her knowledge of dial-up, computers, and the Internet. The entries that are posted in this blog are professional articles relating to our industry. Email your questions, suggestions, and other comments to

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