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Windows Update is another application that has been redesigned in Windows Vista. Now it is a standalone application instead of a web based one and, in order to download updates, you don't need to go through a validation process. As you will see for yourself, the new Windows Update is easier to and use and less disruptive compared to its predecessor.
In this article we will talk about the new Windows Update, how it works and how to configure it.
Where to find Windows Update
Windows Update can be found directly in the root of the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can find it in Control Panel -> System and Maintanance -> Windows Update.
How to check for and install updates
When you will start Windows Update it will show you if there are any available updates. If no updates are being reported as available, then you can do a manual check by clicking on the Check for updates link. Windows Update will make a quick check and show you a summary of its findings.
As you can see in the screenshot below, at the time when we wrote this article, there were available 7 important and 17 optional updates. Also, if you have Windows Vista Ultimate, you can see if any new Extras were launched by Microsoft or not. If you want to install them click on the Install updates button.
This will install all the important updates but not the recommended or optional ones. To also install some (if not all) of the optional updates you will need to click on the View available updates link that can be found beneath the Install updates button.
As you can see in the screenshot below, Windows Update will split all available updates by categories. You can also see the type of each update and the date when it was published.
When choosing the updates you want to install, you should always select the important and recommended ones as they usually solve critical problems/vulnerabilities.
If you don't want to install an update and you don't want it to be reported by future checks, right click on it and select Hide update. That update will disappear from the list and it will never be installed on your PC.
After you have selected all the updates that you want to install, click on the Install button.
Windows Update will download and then install the updates. At the end, you might be prompted to restart your computer. Close all the important applications or documents you have open and then restart your computer. At the next log-in, Windows Update will inform you that all updates were installed successfully.
How to view the history of your updates
When you are in the Windows Update main window, if you click on the View update history link, you can see all the updates that were downloaded in the past and installed on your computer.
If you want to view or copy the details about an update, select it with the mouse, right click on it and select the appropriate option.
How to restore hidden updates
If you have hidden some updates that you did not want to install, you can always restore them by accessing the Restore hidden updates link. Select them with the mouse and then click on Restore.
The selected updates will now be available again in the Windows Update list.
How to configure Windows Update
To configure different aspects of Windows Update, click on the Change settings link. You can choose to check for and install updates automatically, download the updates automatically and then install them only when you want, check for updates and then download and install them when you want or, you can disable the automatic check for updates.
Other configuration options include the scheduling of automatic checks and the inclusion of recommended updates together with the important ones (when downloading, installing and notifying about updates).
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