Windows Update is a free support service for Microsoft Windows users that, when activated, searches for and installs updates on the user’s computer (PC). Windows Update, which includes service packs, software patches, and device driver updates, aids in the prevention of new or potentially widespread exploits.
Windows Update is a free Microsoft service that provides updates for the Windows operating system and other Microsoft software, such as service packs and patches.
Drivers for popular hardware devices can also be updated using Windows Update.
Patches and other security updates are routinely released via Windows Update on the second Tuesday of each month, which is known as Patch Tuesday. However, Microsoft releases updates on non-weekdays as well, such as for critical fixes.
What Is the Purpose of Windows Update?
Microsoft Windows Update is used to keep Microsoft Windows and a number of other Microsoft programs up to date.
Updates frequently include feature enhancements as well as security updates to keep Windows safe from malware and malicious attacks.
You can also use Windows Update to view the update history, which displays all of the updates that have been installed on the computer via the Windows Update service.
Availability of Windows Updates
Windows Update is used by all modern Windows operating systems, including Windows 11 and Windows 10, as well as previous versions dating back to Windows XP.
However, Windows Update does not update the majority of your non-Microsoft software. You must either update those programs manually or use a free software updater program to do so for you.
How to Get to Windows Update?
The method you use to access Windows Update is determined by the Windows operating system you are using:
Windows 11 and Windows 10: Windows Update is built-in and accessible via the Start menu’s Settings menu.
Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista: Windows Update is built into the Control Panel as an applet and is accessible from within the Control Panel.
In Windows Vista and later, you can also access Windows Update by typing this command into the Run dialogue box (WIN+R).
Windows XP, 2000, ME, 98:
If you need more detailed instructions, see How to Check for and Install Windows Updates.
How to Install Windows Update?
Navigate to the Windows Update option in the Settings or Control Panel (or launch the Windows Update website in older versions of Windows). A list of available updates is displayed, which is tailored to your specific computer.
Choose the updates you want to install and follow the on-screen instructions to download and install them. The majority of the process is automated and may only require a few actions on your part, or you may be prompted to restart the computer after the updates have been installed.
Older Windows Update Versions
The Critical Update Notification tool (later renamed Critical Update Notification Utility) was released by Microsoft around the time of Windows 98. It works in the background and alerts you when a critical update is available via Windows Update.
Automatic Updates, which is available in Windows Me and Windows 2003 SP3, has taken the place of that tool. Automatic Updates allows you to install updates without using a web browser, and it checks for updates less frequently than the Critical Update Notification tool.
More Details on Windows Update
Since Windows Vista, updates with the.MANIFEST,.MUM, or.CAT file extensions denote a manifest file, Microsoft Update Manifest file, or security catalogue file.
If you suspect that a patch is the source of an error message or other problem, consult our How to Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates guide.
If you don’t want to use Windows Update, some non-Microsoft programs will install Windows updates for you. OUTDATEfighter, Windows Updates Downloader, and Autopatcher are a few examples.
Windows Update is not the same as Microsoft Store (previously known as Windows Store), which allows you to download music and apps.
Although Windows Update can update some device drivers, Microsoft does not provide many of them. These could range from a video card driver to a driver for an advanced keyboard, in which case you should update them yourself. A free driver updater tool is a quick and easy way to download and install drivers without using Windows Update.