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For Seniors: Options for Keeping Windows Updated

When a new operating system such as Windows 8 is released, it has been thoroughly tested; however, when the product is in general use, the manufacturer finds a few problems or security gaps that it couldn’t anticipate. For that reason, companies such as Microsoft release updates to their software, both to fix those problems and deal with new threats to laptops that appeared after the software release.

Windows Update is a tool you can use to make sure your laptop has the most up-to-date security measures in place. You can set Windows Update from the Control Panel by choosing System and Security→Windows Update→Change Settings. In the resulting dialog box, click the Important Updates drop-down list and you find these settings:

  • Install Updates Automatically: With this setting, Windows Update starts at a time of day you specify, but your laptop must be on for it to work. If you’ve turned off your laptop, the automatic update will start when you next turn on your laptop, and it might shut down your laptop in the middle of your work to reboot (turn off and then on) and complete the installation.

  • Download Updates But Let Me Choose Whether to Install Them: You can set up Windows Update to download updates and have Windows notify you (through a little pop-up message on your taskbar) when they’re available. You get to decide when the updates are installed and when your laptop reboots to complete the installation.

  • Check for Updates But Let Me Choose Whether to Download and Install Them: With this setting, you neither download nor install updates until you say so, but Windows notifies you that new updates are available.

  • Never Check for Updates: You can stop Windows from checking for updates and check for them yourself, manually. This puts your laptop at a bit more risk because you may neglect to download important updates, but it’s useful for you to know how to perform a manual update if you discover a new update such as a new printer driver or language pack is available that you need.

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