Updating Windows XP automatically
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To keep up with ever changing Internet and the various threats associated with those changes, Microsoft improves the functionality and security of Windows XP and its various other products by generating and releasing updates and patches for its products about once a month. You should make sure that these updates are installed in your machine regularly to keep your work environment safe and secure. You can do this manually by regularly checking for updates, then downloading any available updates and installing them. But a far better and easier way is to set up your machine to receive these updates automatically. Once you set it up, you can relax and not worry about remembering to update Windows. Windows XP itself will take care of it.
Basically, you have to tell Windows in advance which updates to download and when to install them. Windows gives you choices here. And I am going to tell you in this section what choices you should make.
If you bought a new computer that came with Windows XP installed in it, the chances are that your computer manufacturer has already setup Windows to receive automatic updates. But you should check that and make sure whatever automatic update choices the computer manufacturer has selected for you actually suits you. If not, you should change them to suit your needs.
You start by visiting Microsoft Update. As soon as you reach Microsoft's Web site, Microsoft will check the status of your computer and will present you with an Web page that looks like this:
Microsoft Update Home.
Click to enlarge image. After viewing the enlarged image
click on the Back button to come back to this page.
Now look at the righthand side of the page. If your computer is not already set to receive automatic updates from Microsoft, it will look like the above figure. Shown below is a fullsize picture of the rightside of the page.
Turn on Automatic
When you actually check the status of your computer, if you see the above picture, you should immediately click on the "Turn on Automatic Updates" button.
When you click on the "Turn on Automatic Updates" button, you should see the following dialog box:
Accepting Automatic Updates.
Click on OK. Now you will see Figure 2 has changed and it looks like Figure 4 below.
Automatic Updates: Turned ON.
You are pretty safe now. Only you should take care of one more thing. Some of the updates needs restarting your computer, and Windows might restart your computer at a time most inconvenient for you -- you might even lose data. So to control when to install the updates, click on "Pick a time to install updates" as shown on Figure 4. That should bring up the following dialog box.
Choose here when to install the updates.
Click on the circle in front of "Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them" to put a dot in that circle. Now click on Apply, then click OK. You are done. From now on Windows will automatically download all critical updates for you and will install them only when you give your consent.
If have turned on Automatic Updates for my computer and I have chosen "Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them". So Windows downloads the updates automatically for me, but do not install them. At the end of the day, when I shut down my computer, I sometimes see the following dialog box (as opposed to the regular Shut Down Windows dialog box).
Turn off computer dialog box.
When you click on the red button with the picture of a shield on it,
the computer installs the downloaded updates and then shuts down.
Cool. Don't you think?