Setting Up Windows to Update Automatically

Your Windows 7 Operating System (OS) needs to be updated for it to stay secure and reliable. Out-of-date OS can be prone to a lot of security breaches that may cause further damages both to your machine’s software and hardware. Searching for these updates and installing them manually can prove to be a very tedious task which is why Microsoft has made Windows update a part of your Windows OS.

Automatically download and install of Windows update is set by default. It is strongly recommended that you leave this as it is however; there are times that you might want to turn this feature off or for some unknown reason, automatic update is turned off and you would need to turn it on manually. Here is how you can manage the automatic update feature on your Windows 7 machine.

  1. First off, click the “Start” button. You will then see a menu. Click “Control Panel” located at the right side and you will be directed to the main Control Panel screen.

  2. On the Control Panel screen, click “System and Security”, on the window that appears, click “Windows Update”. Under this category, you will find other options. They are there to provide shortcuts to other categories and options which are used often.

  3. There’s a number of important information that the Windows Update main screen provides. You will see somewhere at the middle that a message saying “Important”, “Recommended” or “Optional” is present describing each update. To better understand what each description means, here’s a brief overview:
    1. Important Updates – These are the ones which are needed to fix some security issues and other problems that can cause problems and instability on the system. These types of updates should be installed right away.

    2. Recommended Updates – These are the updates that install new features and add functionality to your system. Install them is a good idea however it’s not really a need.

    3. Optional Updates – These are commonly take-it-or-leave-it updates proposed by Microsoft. They can be trial version software for Windows or driver updates to help improve hardware performance on Windows.

  4. Clicking a link on available updates (6 optional updates shown in this example) will take you to the screen which will allow you to choose which ones you want to install and leave without being installed. You can do this by simply clicking on the check box located at the left of each update.

If you don’t have any idea what the update does, you can simply click on it and you’ll see a description on the right side of the screen. This is a very useful feature that will help you make a good decision of whether or not an update is needed to be installed or not.

  1. Under the available updates that are available on the main screen of Windows Update is a useful option that provides information of when the most recent update check was executed. This is useful especially if you want to check the update history of your machine. Clicking the links will bring you to the list (a very long list of updates if your computer is quite old and a short one if it’s new).

You can use this as a troubleshooting tool. The list helps you narrow down an update that may have caused problems on your system. The link that’s underlined under the “Install Update” label will bring you to the screen that will let you undo any update once you click it. Doing this on any update that may have caused trouble will restore stability to your system.

  1. You can also change other settings from the main screen of the Windows Update feature. On the main screen, you will notice blue options on the left. The one that you need to be spending time with is the “Change settings” option where you can make changes on Windows Update.

You will see this window after clicking the “Change settings” button. You should focus your attention on the option labeled “Important updates” which is on top of the list. You can click the dropdown menu to reveal more options.

Microsoft also recommends that you just leave important updates to install automatically as this ensures that all needed updates that will help protect your computer is installed without your intervention. It also helps protect your machine from being opened potentially to the bad guys luring around the Internet space.

Other options are also available from this screen. It is advised that you check it as shown in the figure below. The one you might want to change is the option labeled “Who can install updates”. If there are other people (your kids for instance) who has access to your computer, it is recommended that you uncheck this option to ensure that it’s only you who can have access to your machine’s update behavior.

You will also notice the “Microsoft Update” option. You might be confused since “Windows Update” and “Microsoft Update” seems to sound like the same thing however, “Microsoft Update” goes beyond just the Windows component and expends to other software components like Microsoft Word, Excel etc.

As you can see, there are lots of available options you can do with you’re the Windows Update feature on your computer. Protect your machine further by learning how you can use this tool.