Jul 11, 2012
“I understand that running Windows Update is an important part of keeping my computer secure, but I can never remember to do it. I’m afraid that I could miss an important update and end up getting my computer infected with malware. Is there any way to update Windows automatically?”
As a matter of fact, there is. Microsoft tends to release updates for Windows on the second Tuesday of the month, a day that has become known as “Patch Tuesday” among many computer users. However, you may occasionally see an update out of cycle if Microsoft has discovered a security flaw and needs to get the fix out to customers as quickly as possible. Although messages from the Windows Update utility nagging you to install updates and restart your computer can be a little annoying, the annoyance is preferable to the alternative — a crashed computer.
Windows 7 and Windows Vista
- Open the Start Menu and type Windows Update.
- Click Windows Update.
- Click Change Settings on the left side of the window.
- Select Install updates automatically (recommended) on the Important Updates drop-down menu.
- Click the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box.
- Click OK. The remaining options in this window can be left alone if desired.
- Open the Start Menu and click Control Panel.
- Click Switch to Classic View.
- Double-click Automatic Updates.
- Click the Automatic (recommended) radio button.
- Set the desired time interval for update checking using the fields below.
- Click OK.
I Can’t Enable Automatic Updates
If you are unable to get your computer to update itself automatically — and have the latest Service Pack installed, if you’re running Windows XP — the most likely reason is that the Automatic Update service is disabled. Enabling it is a quick and painless process.
- Open the Start Menu. If you are running Windows XP, click Run.
- Type services.msc and press Enter. This displays the Services screen.
- Double-click Windows Update in Windows 7 and Windows Vista or Automatic Updates in Windows XP.
- Change the Startup Type to Automatic or Automatic (Delayed Start).
- Click the Start button to start the service.
- Click OK. You should now be able to enable automatic updates.