Configuring Automatic Windows Updates

by Barry Dysert
(last updated January 26, 2015)

Windows Update is a Windows 7 feature that runs on your computer and keeps your copy of Windows up to date with the latest software patches from Microsoft. It does this by periodically connecting to the Internet, downloading, and installing any updates that have been released since the last time Windows Update ran. If you want to change how Windows Update is configured, you can do so. First, go to Start | Control Panel | Windows Update. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Windows Update dialog box.

Click Change Settings, at the left side of the dialog box, and Windows displays the settings by which Windows Update is operated. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Change Settings dialog box for Windows Update.

By opening the top drop-down list box you can select one of the following options:

  • Install updates automatically (recommended)
  • Download updates, but let me choose whether to install them
  • Check for updates, but let me choose whether to download and install them
  • Never check for updates (not recommended)

The next two drop-down lists allow you to specify when the action should be performed. You can pick any day of the week or have them installed every day. You can also choose what time of day the update process occurs. By checking the checkboxes on the screen you can indicate whether recommended updates should be handled the same way as important updates (Microsoft classifies updates as "important", "recommended", or "optional"), and whether all users can install updates on the computer. When you are finished configuring how Windows Update should work, click OK to put the new configuration into effect.

Remember that Windows Update can only function properly if your system is turned on. Thus, if you set the feature to run during the middle of the night (which is very common—you aren't using your computer then), you need to make sure your computer is left running all night. If you, instead, turn your computer off, then Windows Update will run the next time you turn your computer on.

 This tip (12336) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Understanding Windows Update

It is important to keep your system updated with the latest software patches. This keeps your computer safer from attacks ...

Discover More

Using Media Player to Burn an Audio CD

One of the many things you can do with Windows Media Player is to burn audio CDs. This tip shows you how.

Discover More

Disabling Automatic Driver Installation

Whenever you plug something into your computer, Windows dutifully tries to find and install the driver for your new ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Understanding Computer Names

Every Windows computer on your network has a name. This name typically provides some identifying information about the ...

Discover More

Modifying Windows Startup Services

Windows takes advantage of many different operating system components called services. Most of the Windows services are ...

Discover More

Using Desktop Themes

Desktop themes allow you to quickly and easily personalize your system so that what you see and hear while working can be ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.