Updating and Patching Windows
Microsoft Windows is both the most popular and most compromised operating system available. While an out of the box configuration of Windows is not a secure option, Microsoft regularly releases patches (or collections of patches called "Service Packs") that address these issues, usually before they become a problem. There are several ways to update Windows, the two most common of which are discussed in this article.
Automatic Updates with Win XP Service Pack 2 systems (New Way)
- Click on "Start" → "Control Panel" → "Security Center" icon
- Select "Automatic Updates"
- Select Automatic updates and select a time that your computer is normally on at.
Windows Update Website
Windows can be updated through the web via http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com (Internet Explorer only). You can either go their by entering the URL listed above into your web browser or clicking on the "Windows Update" shortcut from your Start Menu.
Once you are at the site, click on Scan for updates to get started. You may be prompted to install Microsoft software before scanning starts; to continue, install the software.
Once your operating system has been scanned (this can take a few minutes), you will be presented with a list of available updates. If you've never patched Windows, the list may be quite long; start by installing the latest service pack for your operating system (it will be under Critical Updates). The service pack will download (depending on your connection speed, this may take a long time) then extract itself and start to install. When it's finished, you will be asked to reboot.
Once you've installed the latest service pack, install all other critical updates. You will probably be asked to reboot your system several more times during this process (depending on the particulars of the updates you need to install).
You may also wish to install additional updates from your specific Windows version section. However these patches are not for everyone: be sure to read the description carefully before installing them. Similarly, updated device drivers can be downloaded from Driver Updates- make sure you've read the description carefully downloading and installing those updates to your system.
Automatic Updates with BITS (Old Way)
To simplify the process of updating your operating system, Windows 2000 and XP also have automatic updating services that can check for updates on a regular basis and install them if any are found. You must have administrative control of your computer to enable the appropriate settings.
To enable the automatic updates service with BITS, you need to enable two services. Get started in Windows XP by going to Start → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Services; for 2000, go to Start → Settings → Control Panel → Administrative Tools → Services. From the services control panel, double-click Automatic Updates and change its Startup Type to Automatic. Finally, hit OK. Do the same for Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS).
When you are finished, simply close the services control panel and reboot. Once you log back into your computer (after reboot), and connect to the network, Windows will prompt you to configure Automatic Updates. Read the options and choose the one most appropriate for your situation (generically we recommend you allow it to automatically update and install patches).
If you aren't prompted with pop-up notification, you can manually access it through Start → Control Panel → System → Automatic Updates (XP) or Start → Settings → Control Panel → Automatic Updates (2000).