Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Microsoft Update?
It's a service from Microsoft that delivers updates for Windows and other Microsoft programs that you've installed, such as Office. If you use Microsoft Update, you no longer need to go to different websites to get the latest updates for supported Microsoft software products.

Does it work with Windows automatic updating?
Yes. If you've already turned on automatic updating, you'll receive updates for any Microsoft products that you've installed and that are supported by the service. Updates will be installed using the same settings for Windows Update in Control Panel that you're currently using.

If you haven't turned on automatic updating, installing Microsoft Update will turn it on for you. Windows will automatically find and install the latest important and recommended updates for any Microsoft products that you have installed and that are supported by the service.

Can I choose which updates to install?
You can choose which updates to install by manually checking for updates or by customizing your Windows Update settings. To manually check for updates, go to Windows Update in Control Panel. (Click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.) In the left pane, click Check for updates. You can review or select from any available updates before installing them. To change your automatic updating settings, go to Windows Update in Control Panel. In the left pane, click Change settings, and then choose the settings that you prefer.

Can I change how Windows installs or notifies me about updates?
Yes. To learn how, see Change how Windows installs or notifies you about updates

How can I tell if I'm getting updates automatically?
Whether you use Microsoft Update or Windows Update, go to Security Center in Control Panel and make sure that automatic updating is set to On. To view or change your automatic updating settings, you can also click the Start button, click All Programs, click Windows Update, and then click Change settings.

If I use Microsoft Update, do I still need to visit the Windows Update or Microsoft Update websites?
No. Beginning with Windows Vista, you no longer use websites to check for updates. Instead, go to Windows Update in Control Panel. If you use Microsoft Update, you will be able to install updates for Windows and other Microsoft software products that you've installed and that are supported by the Microsoft Update service.

Do I still need to get updates from Office Online or use Office Update?
Not if you’ve installed Office 2003 or Office XP. If you use an earlier version of Office, you should still get updates from Microsoft Office Online.

Tip: To check which version of Office you're using, open any Microsoft Office program. Click Help, and then click About (program name).

Does Microsoft Update provide templates or clip art for Office?
No. If you like to download add-ons such as templates, clip art, and other media for any version of Office, you still need to go to Microsoft Office Online.

How often should I check for updates from Microsoft Update?
That depends. If you turn on automatic updating, you don't need to remember to check for updates. Windows will check for new updates whenever you're online and install them using your automatic updating settings. If you do not use automatic updating, you should check for updates at least once each week.

What types of updates does Microsoft publish?
Microsoft offers important, recommended, and optional updates. Important updates provide significant benefits, such as improved security and reliability. Recommended updates can address non-critical problems and help enhance your computing experience. Optional updates are not downloaded or installed automatically.

To see a list of the updates that Microsoft publishes and definitions for each type of update, refer to the Microsoft Help and Support website article, "Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates".

How often does Microsoft Update release security updates?
Security-related updates are released once a month. However, if a security threat occurs, such as a widespread virus or worm that affects Windows-based computers, Microsoft will release a corresponding update as soon as possible. Other types of updates can be released whenever they are ready.

Tip: It’s a good idea to turn on automatic updating so that your computer can receive new security updates as they become available.

What are the legal terms for Microsoft Update?
Your use of Microsoft Update is subject to the Terms of Use. Software updates you receive through Microsoft Update are governed by any license terms that come with them. If no license terms come with them, the may be governed by the original license agreement for the software to which they apply. You should check that license agreement for details. If you choose to install updates automatically, you may not be notified of which products are being updated, but you can review details for these updates by going to the Windows Update history in Control Panel.

Which operating systems and programs does Microsoft Update support?
The service currently delivers updates for these Microsoft programs and operating systems:

Windows Server System and related software products: Other programs for Windows-based computers:
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