Keep Your Windows XP Computer Up To Date Automatically

While I am not a fan of Microsoft Auto Update due to a little piece of, ahem, semi-spyware it installs, for those who are less technically inclined it still gives you an easy and safe way to ensure your computer is kept up to date. This is extremely important as Microsoft releases updates monthly (more frequently these days) which help prevent hackers and other malcontents from taking advantage of your computer’s generosity.

Degree of Difficulty: 1 (Grandma)

Note: All tips published will have a difficulty rating of 1 (Grandma could do it), 2 (Normal User), 3 (Power User), and 4 (Geeks only).
Auto Update and Install

To access the screen shown above, click on Start, then select Control Panel, and Automatic Updates. Then, select the button titled “Automatic”. You can then choose when you want Windows to download and update your system. Hint: pick a time in the early hours of the morning, when you can leave your computer running overnight. Wednesday at 3:00AM is a good time, as Microsoft routinely releases patches on the second Tuesday of the month.

Most of the time, the update process should be completely transparent to you, and your computer should be ready for you to check your e-mail with the morning coffee. Occasionally however, you may run into an update that requires you to accept a user agreement, or requires a restart of your PC. If this is the case, you’ll see some kind of on-screen notification, usually in the form of one of those little bubbles in the bottom right corner.

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