Useful Information about Microsoft Updates

January 23, 2014

Q. What Is Microsoft Update?

A. It’s a Web site from Microsoft that helps you update Microsoft Windows and many other Microsoft programs that you’ve installed — such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server — all in one convenient place. Updates delivered by Microsoft Update improve or fix problems with programs, including security vulnerabilities.


Q. Does it work with Windows Automatic Updates?

A. Yes. If you turn on Automatic Updates in Windows XP, Windows will automatically find and install high-priority updates for any Microsoft products that you have installed and that are supported by the Microsoft Update Web site.


Q. If I use Microsoft Update, do I still need to visit the Windows Update Web site?

A. No. Microsoft Update provides the same updates you find on the Windows Update Web site and more. Microsoft Update is designed to make it easier for you to update Windows and your Microsoft products in one place.


Q. Do I still need to get updates from Office Online or use Office Update?

A. No, if you’ve installed Office 2003 or Office XP products. If you use Office 2000 products, you should still get updates from the Office Update site. Regardless of which version of the Office products you’ve installed, if you like to download templates, clip art, and other media for any version of Office, you still need to visit the Microsoft Office Online site to obtain these useful add-ons.


Q. How often should I visit Microsoft Update?

A. That depends. If you turn on Automatic Updates, you automatically get the most important updates for your computer. You only need to visit the site to check for optional updates for your software and hardware. If you do not use Automatic Updates, you should visit the site as often as possible and at least once each week.


Q: How does the Web site work with my computer?

A: Microsoft Update works with updating software in Windows. When you visit the site, the updating software identifies which version of Windows and other Microsoft products you use. This way, the Web site shows you only the updates that apply to your computer, not all updates published by Microsoft. The privacy policy describes in more detail which information is used to find updates your computer needs.


Q: How often does Microsoft Update release new updates?

A: 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. It’s a good idea to turn on Automatic Updates so that your computer can receive high-priority updates as they become available.


Q. How can I choose which updates to install?

A. We recommend you install all high-priority updates for your computer, not just updates for a specific product. After you’ve installed the most important updates, you can choose from any remaining optional updates for your programs and hardware.


Q. What’s the difference between Express and Custom?

A. When you check for updates, you have two options:

Express (recommended) finds all high-priority updates for your computer so you can install them with one click. This is the quickest and easiest way to keep your computer up to date.

Custom finds high-priority and optional updates. You need to review and select the updates you want to install, one by one.


Q. Do I need to install optional updates?

A. No. Optional updates address minor issues or add non-critical functionality to your computer. It is more important to install high-priority updates so that your computer gets the latest critical and security-related software.


Q. Which operating systems does Microsoft Update support?

A. The Microsoft Update Web site offers updates for Windows and Microsoft programs as described below.

Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1

Windows Server 2003

Windows XP with Service Pack 2

Windows XP with Service Pack 1

Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4

If your version of Windows isn’t listed, use Windows Update to search for updates.


Q. Which browser versions can I use to access Microsoft Update?

A. You can use Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, but we recommend using Internet Explorer 6 or later.


Q: Can I view the Microsoft Update Web site using another language?

A: Yes, but updates will no longer appear in the same language that you use to view links, options, and instructions on the Web site. Titles and details for an update are displayed using your computer’s default language.


Q: Why does Microsoft Update recommend a language for me to use?

A: It matches the default language setting for your computer. If you use the default language, you can view the Web site using the same language as the titles and details of any updates that apply to your computer.


Q: Can I get updates in multiple languages?

A: Yes. Microsoft Update automatically detects language settings for each program on your computer. If you use multiple languages, you will be offered updates for each program in the appropriate language.