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Using Windows Update Program to Update Microsoft Software in Windows 7

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This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7.
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 Windows 7 operating system and the Microsoft products installed on your computer. Use Microsoft Windows Update regularly to locate and install the latest fixes and enhancements for your products.
The update utility is part of the Windows 7 operating system interface.

Understanding Windows Update

The Windows Update utility determines which updates are applicable to your computer and then downloads and installs them automatically. To make sure your computer stays up to date, you should select the options to install both the Important and the Recommended updates automatically.
  • If an update requires you to restart the computer 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 7 can save the application's data, close the application, update the file, and then restart the application.
To manage the update process, Windows Update provides options to control how you are notified about updates, as well as the option to review and approve updates before they are downloaded or installed. At any time, you can also proactively check for and install any available updates using the Windows Update control panel. You can scan for updates, review details about each one, access your updating history, and manage your updating preferences.

Preparing for the update process

Although Windows Update can be set to check for updates on a regular schedule, you can create system restore points to back up your system settings and start the Windows Update process at any time. Creating restore points will help avoid problems caused by Windows Update such as a driver or device no longer working. To determine the current status of your computer and run the Windows update, do the following:
  1. Click Start , enter system in the search field, and then select System from the results list.
  2. On the left side of the System window, click System protection .
    Enter administrator password or confirm if prompted.
  3. Click the System Protection tab, select the C: (System) drive as the location to store the recovery points information, and then click Create .
    NOTE:Do not select the D: (Recovery) drive as a location to store the restore points information. The Recovery drive is a small drive that contains programs to restore your computer to the original factory image. If additional information is saved to the D: (Recovery) drive, a 'Drive is full' error message might be displayed.
  4. Enter text in the Create a restore point field to help you identify the restore point at a later time, and then click Create .
  5. Click Start , type Windows Update in the Search field, and then select Windows Update from the list.
  6. In the Windows Update page, click Check for updates in the left pane.
    Figure 1: Windows Update
    Windows update, install updates for your computer
  7. If updates are available and displayed on the window, click Install updates and follow any prompts. Updates take time to install and often require the computer to be restarted.
Your computer has now been updated with the most recent drivers and patches available through Microsoft.

Setting up a schedule for automatic updates

The Windows Update utility can automatically download and install both Important and Recommended updates. Since updating occurs in the background, and flexible options are provided for completing the updating process.
You should also change the settings to allow the automatic update from Windows, as follows:
  1. Open the Windows Update program (as described above) and select Change settings in the left pane.
  2. Under Install updates automatically , select the day and time settings that best fits your needs, and then click OK .
Figure 2: Choose how Windows can install updates
Selecting settings for automatic updates
Your computer is now set to automatically check and accept any critical updates that become available when you are online. These settings can be changed.

Troubleshooting Windows Update errors in Windows 7

If you receive any errors while running the Windows Update utility under Windows 7, use the Windows Update Troubleshooter to try to resolve them. To run the Windows Update Troubleshooter:
  1. Click Start , enter find and fix problems in the search field, then select Find and Fix Problems from the search results list.
    Figure 3: Find and fix problems
    Control Panel with Find and fix problems selected
  2. Under the System and Security troubleshooting category, click Fix problems with Windows Update .
    Figure 4: Troubleshooting computer problems
    Troubleshooting computer problems with System and Security selected
    If prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. When the Windows Update Troubleshooter opens, click Next and follow the on-screen instructions.
    Figure 5: Windows Update
    Windows update
If you continue to experience errors in Windows Update after running the troubleshooter, visit the Microsoft Support Site for additional tips and instructions.
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