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Options for setting up Automatic Updates on your computer

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Options for setting up Automatic Updates on your computer

To choose when and how updates will be delivered to your computer, you have four options:

Automatic (recommended)

When you are connected to the Internet, Windows finds and downloads updates in the background—you are not notified or interrupted during this process and the updates do not interfere with other downloads. If you do not change the default schedule, updates that have been downloaded to your computer will be installed at 3 A.M.

If your computer is turned off during a scheduled update, Windows will install the updates the next time you start your computer. If you need to help complete the installation process, Windows will notify you. For example, you might need to accept an End User License Agreement (EULA) before some updates can be installed. If you need to restart your computer for an update to take effect, Windows will notify you and will restart your computer at the scheduled time.

Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them

To receive alerts, you must be a member of the Administrators group for your computer. When you are connected to the Internet, Windows finds and downloads updates in the background—you are not notified or interrupted during this process and the updates do not interfere with other downloads.

After downloading is complete, the Windows Update icon Windows Update icon appears in the notification area and an alert pops up, letting you know that the updates are ready to be installed. To review and install available updates, click the icon or the alert. You can install all or some of the available updates.

Notify me but don't automatically download or install updates

To manually download and install updates, you must be a member of the Administrators group for your computer. Windows checks for important updates and notifies you if any are available; updates are not delivered or installed on your computer until you choose to do so. When Windows finds updates for your computer, the Windows Update icon Windows Update icon appears in the notification area and an alert pops up, letting you know that updates are ready to be downloaded. After you click the icon or the alert, you can select some or all of the updates to download.

Windows downloads the updates in the background—you are not notified or interrupted during this process and the updates do not interfere with other downloads. When downloading is complete, the Windows Update icon appears in the notification area again, this time to let you know that the updates are ready to be installed. You can choose to install all or some of the available updates.

Turn off Automatic Updates

You will never be notified when important updates are available for your computer, and you will never be asked to download or install them. This means that your computer can be vulnerable to security threats and harmful viruses that can damage your computer or your files. Viruses can also spread over the Internet to other people with whom you exchange e-mail, share files, or work with on a network.

New viruses and security threats are continually developed by attackers, so helping protect your computer is an ongoing process. If you do not turn on Automatic Updates, we recommend that you regularly install updates from the Windows Update Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/).

Notes

  • To open System, click Start, click Control Panel, click Performance and Maintenance, and then click System.

  • Installing updates before you shut down your computer is another way to keep your computer up to date and more secure. This option is available only in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and only if important updates have been downloaded but not yet installed. Do not turn off or unplug your computer while updates are installing. Windows will automatically turn off your computer after the updates are installed.

  • Only users with administrator privileges may add or remove programs, including Windows updates. It is strongly recommended that you log out of the computer administrator account when you are not performing tasks that require administrator privileges. If you are logged on as an administrator when your computer is the target of a virus or malicious user, the attack can cause extensive damage. For example, it might be able to reformat your hard drive, delete all your files, or create a new administrator account so the attacker can take over your computer. For more information about user accounts and why you should not run your computer as an administrator, see Help and Support.

See Also

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