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Q: What is the difference between AU & WU?
A: The primary differences between Windows Update (WU) and Automatic Updates (AU) are as follows:

1) AU provides only critical security (and some non-security) updates for Windows whereas WU provides software updates and drivers for Windows. In short, WU delivers everything that AU provides and more.
2) WU requires you to navigate to the Windows Update website and download software updates, whereas AU, once configured, automatically downloads and/or installs updates on your machine.

The Windows Update (WU) website is the online extension of Windows that helps you to keep your computer up-to-date. Windows Update provides updates for your computer’s operating system, software, and hardware. New content is added to the site regularly, so you can always get the most recent updates and fixes to protect your computer and keep it running smoothly.

When you enter Windows Update and click “Scan for updates”, the website automatically detects your operating system version and provides you all the updates that are available for your system. As you browse through the available updates in each category, click “Add” to select the update of your choice and add it to the collection of updates you want to install. You can also read a full description of each item by clicking the “Read more” link. When you have selected all the updates you want, click “Review and install updates,” and then click “Install Now.” For more details about Windows Update, please go to the Windows Update website.

Automatic Updates (AU) is a feature provided on Windows XP, Windows 2000 SP3 (or later) and Windows Server 2003, which, when enabled allows you to download and/or install the latest critical security updates automatically on a schedule you choose. When you configure this setting, Automatic Updates checks the Windows Update site periodically for critical updates while the computer is connected to the Internet but the connection to the Internet is not being used. Depending on the configuration you choose, the security updates will either be automatically downloaded only, or downloaded and installed on your system. For more details about the Automatic Updates feature in Windows, please see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 294871

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