Making the switch to Microsoft Update on Windows XP machines

Besides updates for the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer, did you know that Microsoft Update will also provide updates for other applications? Greg Shultz explains why you should use Microsoft Update on your Windows XP machine.

If you're like most security-conscious folks using the Internet these days, you have your Windows XP SP2's Security Center configured to automatically connect to the Windows Update site on a regular basis. As you know, Windows Update performs a tune up that consists of scanning your computer for outdated and vulnerable system files and replacing them with the most recent versions. However, Windows isn't the only thing that is vulnerable these days. You should consider switching from Windows Update to Microsoft Update due to the fact that in addition to including updates for the Windows operating system and Internet Explorer, Microsoft Update will also provide updates for Office and other Microsoft applications.

Here's how:

  1. Go to Start | Help And Support and click Keep Your Computer Up-to-date With Windows Update in the Pick a Task section.
  2. When you connect to the Windows Update site, click the Upgrade To Microsoft Update link.
  3. When you connect to the Microsoft Update site, click the Start Now button.
  4. Follow along with the online installation wizard, which will prompt you to review a license agreement, install an ActiveX control, and check for updates.
  5. When you connect to the Welcome to Microsoft Update page, click the Custom button and follow along with the online customization wizard that prompts you to select and install any updates to Microsoft software that you have just installed. (Keep in mind that Microsoft Update only focuses on high-end applications, i.e., you probably won't find updates for Flight Simulator.)

Now, when the Security Center automatically updates your system, it will download and install all high priority updates for any Microsoft applications that you have installed, as well as the operating system.

Note: This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Professional when the latter is used in standalone or in workgroup configurations and not part of a domain configured to get approved updates from an internal server running Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS).

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About Greg Shultz

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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