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Windows Update: configure updates on Windows 10, 8.1 and 7

If you want a stable Windows and free from the new threats that appear every week, you absolutely need to keep your system up to date. Many people believe that buying a brand new PC guarantees a stable and secure system for many years. They are wrong ! Regardless of the age of your PC, you must constantly make sure that your operating system is up to date.

Why do you keep updating Windows ?

Windows being the operating system most used in the world, it is the victim of hackers who see in it a gigantic mass of users to attack and steal, by exploiting the security vulnerabilities of the system. To protect us, Microsoft releases security patches through its Windows Update service as soon as a new threat is detected.

This is why it is important to configure Windows Update correctly so that it installs security updates as quickly as possible.

Windows update cycle

Cumulative updates (also called quality updates on Windows 10) are released on the second Tuesday of each month, this day being called Tuesday Patch. Each cumulative monthly update contains security and reliability fixes.

Security patches can also be offered off-cycle if necessary (for example, if a zero-day vulnerability is discovered).

For Windows 10 only, feature updates are released every six months.

In this article, I explain how to configure Windows Update to ensure the security of your system!

Configure updates on Windows 10

With Windows 10, Microsoft has changed its policy on installing updates : quality updates and feature updates download and install automatically.

After installing an update, it is even sometimes necessary to restart and Windows does not hesitate to restart your PC, even if tasks are running!

windows-10-update-security

The user does not have the same options to configure the behavior of the Windows Update service as they had in previous versions of Windows.

Fortunately, Microsoft has added new options, some of which can save your life :

  • Set Active hours : allows you to indicate a time slot (up to 18 hours) during which you generally use your PC. Windows agrees not to restart your PC during these hours of activity.
    windows-10-update-check-active-hours
  • Schedule restart : allows you to postpone the installation of updates on Windows 10 (option only available when updates are pending installation on your computer).
    windows-10-update-schedule-restart
  • Advanced options> Update options:
    • Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows : we recommend activating this option;
    • We will show a reminder when we are going to restart. If you want to see more notifications about restarting, turn this on : allows you to get more alerts when Windows is about to restart your PC.
      windows-10-advanced-options
  • Advanced options > Pause updates : allows you to delay the quality installation and functionality updates for 35 days.
    windows-10-pause-updates
  • Advanced options> Choose when to install updates : allows you to select the duration for which the next functionality update will be suspended:
      • Current Branch for Business (targeted) : allows you to postpone the new version of Windows 10 up to 365 days after its initial publication date.
      • Current Branch for Business : allows you to postpone the new version of Windows 10 up to 12 months after its availability to organizations. In total, the new version of Windows 10 can be delayed up to 16 months (12 + 4 months).
        You also have the option of postponing quality updates (cumulative updates including bug and security fixes).
        windows-10-choose-when-installing-updates
  • Advanced options > Delivery optimization > Allow downloads from other PCs: enables or disables the upload of previously downloaded updates to other PCs. If you have a limited data plan for your Internet connection, it is recommended to uncheck this option. If you have an ADSL or fiber connection, you can activate this option.
    windows-10-delivery-optimization
  • Advanced options > Delivery optimization > Advanced options > Download and upload update settings: allows you to define a quantity of data not to be exceeded for uploading and to limit the bandwidth allocated for uploading updates up to date (as a% of total bandwidth).
    windows-10-update-advanced-options
  • Advanced options > Delivery optimization > Activity monitor : statistics on the amount of data downloaded and uploaded for Windows updates.
    windows-10-activity-monitor

Configure updates on Windows 7, 8.1

Thanks to the Windows Update program included in each version of Windows, it is very simple to configure and install Windows updates since Windows Vista where Windows Update is a component of Control Panel and no longer an application web as it was the case under Windows XP.

How do I use Windows Update ?

It’s very simple! First, let’s configure it

To access Windows Update, enter control /name Microsoft.WindowsUpdate in the Run command or go to Control Panel > System and Security.

The Windows Update home page summarizes the updates available for your PC.

windows-7-check-for-update

The best choice is to configure Windows Update to automatically download updates. Once downloaded, you can choose whether Windows should install them automatically or whether you want to start installing them manually.

I strongly recommend that you leave the default choice: Install updates automatically. The updates will then be installed when you shut down or restart your computer.

To configure Windows Update, select Change settings from the left menu and verify that your settings are configured as such:

  • Important updates :
      • Install updates automatically (recommended);
      • Download the updates but let me choose whether to install them;
      • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them;
      • Never check for updates (not recommended).
  • Recommended Updates : Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates (checked).
  • Microsoft Update : Show me details notifications when new Microsoft software is available (checked).
    windows-update-configure-windows-7

Once Windows Update is properly configured, you have nothing more to do!

Important updates will install automatically when you shut down your PC. However, if you want to install them as soon as they are available and avoid waiting for the next computer shutdown, click the link important updates are available.

windows-7-select-update

Leave all the boxes checked, then click Install at the bottom right. Windows then installs the updates: your system will soon be more secure and more stable!

Windows Update also offers optional updates. These updates will never be installed automatically. It is up to you to decide whether to install them or not. If you want information on an update, select it and read its description in the right panel.

That’s it, Windows is now configured correctly to automatically receive important updates. One step closer to a more secure system.

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