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Using Windows Update in a Browser to Update Microsoft Software in XP

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This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows XP.
Windows Update is a utility designed to help keep your computer current and more secure by downloading and installing the latest security and program updates for both the XP operating system and other Microsoft products installed on your PC. HP recommends that the Microsoft Windows Update be used on a regular basis to locate and install the latest fixes and enhancements for their products.
With Windows Vista, the update utility is part of the operating system interface. With Windows XP, the update function is available from the Microsoft web site.

Understanding Windows Update

The Windows Update utility determines which updates are applicable to your computer and then downloads and installs them either manually or automatically. To ensure that your computer stays up to date, you should select the options to install updates automatically.
The Windows Update automatic function with XP installs only the important (high-priority) updates. To ensure that the recommended (optional) updates are installed and prevent potential disruptions to your operating system, you should return to the Windows Update site regularly to select and install the optional updates.
  • If an update requires a restart to complete the installation process, you can schedule this action for a specific time when it won't disrupt your work. You can also postpone a previously scheduled restart until your current work is complete.
  • If a software update applies to a file in use, Windows Vista can save the application's data, close the application, update the file, and then restart the application.

Access Windows Update from a web browser

To run the Windows Update utility on the web, perform one of the following:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , and Windows Update . This action opens a web browser and connects to the Microsoft web site.
    – or –
  2. Click Start , Help and Support thenUpdate Software & Drivers . This action opens a web browser and connects to a page on the HP web site that has links to Microsoft Windows updates as well as HP updates.
    – or –
  3. Open a web browser and go to the Microsoft.com http://update.microsoft.com update site.

Locate the Automatic Update feature

When using a web browser on the Microsoft web site, you can search using the text "Windows Update". The update program does a preliminary check on your PC for existing hardware and software. This preliminary check does not collect or send any user or personal data. When the check is finished, the Welcome to Microsoft Update page is displayed.
On the Microsoft Update page, you can start a search by choosing one of the following actions.
  1. Windows recommends using the Express search to get high-priority updates for the Windows operating system. While this search is quick, it does not check for some of the OS and Microsoft software updates that are needed to keep your PC in top condition.
  2. HP recommends using the Custom search to get the current updates for both the windows OS and all of the Microsoft software and hardware installed on your PC.
    The Custom update search returns a list of available updates organized by:
    • Type - High Priority, Software, and Hardware
    • Product - Windows XP family, Office, Microsoft programs
When you are ready to install some of the updates, the update program may check your PC is using an approved copy of the OS and software. This check does not collect or send any user or personal data, but it does block the download and installation of the updates software.

Set a Time for Automatic Updates

To keep your PC up to date, you should set a schedule for checking and installing software updates. The Automatic Update program will check for updates on the day and time you specify.
To set a schedule, on the Update Windows page, click the Automatic Update option. Select the options that are convenient for you.
  • Choose the day and time based on how you use your PC. Setting the program to update your PC everyday is probably excessive for most people. Therefore, you can choose a specific day of the week and a convenient time for updates.
  • If you use your PC for work, you may want to select a time early on Monday morning. Then, when you turn on your PC for the first time in the week, the update program will check for and install all the updates. As a side note, you may want to set up your antivirus and firewall programs to look for updates at the same time.
  • If you use your PC mainly on evenings and weekends, you may want to select an update time late Friday night so your programs are up-to-date for all the web surfing on the weekend.
Once the schedule is set, click More Options for additional options for downloading and installing the updates.
HP recommends that you do not select the Turn off Automatic Updates option.

Select Custom to find both Windows and product updates

By default, the Windows Express update only checks for drivers, updates and patches to the operating system (OS); however, the Custom update checks for updates for all Microsoft programs installed on the computer (Word, Excel, MS Office, PowerPoint, etc.)
To configure the program to search for and install updates for both the OS and Microsoft products, perform the following actions.
  • On the Update page, click on the News or information icon.
    Follow the instructions on the windows page. You may be asked to confirm the language for the updates and some product specific version information. To ensure you receive the appropriate support information, please select or confirm your setting, and click the arrow button.
NOTE:The information you select on windows products or Microsoft products will be saved in a cookie so that this selection is available the next time you visit this site.

Search for Updates manually

On the Windows Update window, you can search for updates at any time you want by selecting either the Express or Custom option. The Windows Update searches for updated drivers, firmware, and software from Microsoft. It may take several minutes to complete the search.
The Windows Update displays a list of results. You can accept the results and install all of the updates, or you can view an explanation of each update and decide which you want to install. Some updates will require that the computer be restarted to complete the installation. When the computer is restarted, return to the Windows Update on the Microsoft web site and repeat the check for additional updates.

Finding updates from other companies

Most reputable software and hardware companies offer periodic updates for their products on their company's web site. Use the following ideas to find updates for your PC and programs.
  • When a program is running, click on Help from the program's main menu and look for an entry like; <Company> website , or About which lists the URL of the company's site, or On-Line Help which accesses the company's website.
  • On your HP PC, click Start , then Help & Support . On the Help & Support window, click Update Software & Drivers and follow the directions.

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