Windows Update: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about updating Windows automatically.

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What is automatic updating?

With automatic updating, you don't have to search for updates online or worry that critical fixes or device drivers for Windows might be missing from your PC. Windows Update automatically installs important updates as they become available. You can also set Windows Update to install recommended updates automatically or let you know that they're available. You can also choose whether to turn on Microsoft Update, which delivers updates for other Microsoft products. Optional updates, such as language packs and updates from Microsoft Update, aren't installed automatically. Windows Update won't add any applications to your PC without asking for your permission or take away anything you already have.

What's happened to the Windows Update website?

If you reached this page from http://www.windowsupdate.com or http://update.microsoft.com, these websites are no longer required to use Windows Update or turn on Microsoft Update. Instead, you can do everything with Windows Update in PC settings.

Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, pointing to the bottom-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.

How do I turn on automatic updating?

If you didn't turn on automatic updating when you first started using your PC, you can change your settings any time in Windows Update.

To turn on automatic updating

  1. Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, pointing to the bottom-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.

  2. Tap or click Choose how updates are installed.

  3. Under Important updates, choose the option that you want.

  4. Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box, then click Apply.

Do I need to check for updates?

If you use automatic updating, you won't need to check for important and recommended updates at all. Windows Update will check for these updates and install them when they're ready.

If you don't use automatic updating, you should check for updates yourself at least once every week. We usually release important updates once a month. However, updates could be released at any time.

No matter what your settings are, some updates aren't installed automatically. This includes optional updates and updates that require you to accept new terms of use. When these updates are available, Windows Update will let you know that they're ready to be installed.

To check for updates

  1. Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, pointing to the bottom-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.

  2. Tap or click Check now, then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your PC.

  3. If updates are found, tap or click Install updates.

    Read and accept the licence terms, then tap or click Finish if the update requires this.

    Note

    • You might need to restart your PC to finish installing some updates. Save and close all your files and applications before you restart so you don’t lose anything.

How much does it cost to update Windows automatically?

Windows Update is free. However, depending on how you're billed for your Internet connection, standard local and long distance phone charges, Internet service charges, metered data plan charges or mobile data charges might apply for the time required to download an update.

How will I know what updates have been installed?

We keep an update history in Windows Update so that you can check which updates have been installed and when. You can also use this list to remove specific updates, but it's usually not a good idea to remove them unless you have a specific reason.

To view your update history

  1. Open Windows Update by swiping in from the right edge of the screen (or, if you're using a mouse, pointing to the bottom-right corner of the screen and moving the mouse pointer up), tapping or clicking Settings, tapping or clicking Change PC settings, then tapping or clicking Update and recovery.

  2. Tap or click View your update history.

Will I be asked before my PC restarts after an update, or will it restart automatically?

We'll let you know on your sign-in screen if you need to restart your PC to finish installing updates, and you'll have the choice to restart right away or postpone the restart for up to 3 days. If you're away from your PC for an extended period of time, Windows will automatically restart your PC to finish installing updates.

Will I know if there's a problem installing updates?

Yes. Windows Update provides very important updates for performance and security, so we'll let you know if an update can't be installed.