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How to Install Optional Updates in Windows 8.1

As millions of people put Windows 8.1 to the test every single hour, Microsoft discovers glitches with how Windows 8.1 works. Especially important are weaknesses in security that turn up only when software is under fire in the real world. Windows Update is the process for installing patches (updates) to plug these holes in Windows 8.1.

  1. In the System window, select Windows Update in the lower-left corner.

    Windows Update appears on the desktop.

    Critical updates are installed automatically. Optional updates are just that — optional. Note, however, that optional updates may apply to computer hardware, such as your monitor or printer, and may improve performance or fix problems with devices.

  2. Three optional updates are available. Your results may be different.

    Note the following information listed on the screen:

    • Most Recent Check for Updates: The date and time when Windows 8.1 checked for updates, which should be the current day or very recent. If the most recent check is more than a week old, select the Check for Updates link on the left.

    • Updates Were Installed: The date and time when Windows 8.1 was last updated. If you want to know what update was performed, select View Update History.

    • You Receive Updates: Initially, Windows Update is for Windows only.

  3. If you see a link indicating that you have optional updates available, select that link.

    The Select Updates to Install window appears. To learn more about an update, select its name. The area to the right then displays information for the selected update. Select the More Information link if you want to know even more.

    Note whether the update description includes a warning (marked by an exclamation point in a circle) that you may need to restart your computer after installing the update. In most cases, you won't have to restart immediately; you can shut down at the end of the day and start normally the next day.

  4. Select the check box next to any or all updates you want to install.

    Then select the Install button. You can return to the Start screen and do other things during installation, but don’t close this window or shut down your computer until the screen indicates installation is complete.

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