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How to Enable Automatic
Updates

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One of the most important things you can do to help ensure the security of your computer is to enable the automatic software updates feature as described below. Microsoft and Apple release updates and patches that protect your computer from operating system vulnerabilities; once you enable automatic software updates, your computer will automatically check for these updates every day and download any that become available.

Windows XP

  1. Open the Start menu, click All Programs, then highlight My Computer. Win XP Automatic Update Image 1

    Figure 1. Select My Computer from the Start menu.

  2. Right click My Computer and select Properties from the new menu. Win XP Automatic Update Image 2

    Figure 2. Right-click My Computer, then select Properties.

  3. In the window that opens, click the Automatic Updates tab, then select Automatic (recommended). From the dropdown menus, select Every day and then pick a time that your computer is usually on. Finally, click Apply then OK. Win XP Automatic Update Image 3

    Figure 3. Select Automatic (recommended), then choose Every day, and a convenient time.

Windows Vista

  1. Click the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Update. Windows Vista Automatic Update Image 1

    Figure 1. Go to Start, click All Programs and then Windows Update.

  2. Select Change Settings on the left hand panel and choose Install updates automatically. Windows Vista Automatic Update Image 2

    Figure 2. Select Install updates automatically. You can modify the download and install schedule per the drop-down menu.

  3. It is highly recommended that you place a check next to the options Include recommended updates... as well as Use Microsoft Update. These updates will help to improve your computer's performance as well as the security of installed applications such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), Silverlight, and more.

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

  1. Click on the Apple Menu, and select System Preferences
  2. Mac OS X 10.5 Automatic Sofware Update Image 1
  3. Click Software Update under the System heading
  4. Mac OS X 10.5 Automatic Sofware Update Image 2
  5. From the Scheduled Check tab, place a checkmark next to Check for Updates and Download Important Updates Automatically
  6. Mac OS X 10.5 Automatic Sofware Update Image 3
  7. Next to the Check for updates option, pull down the menu and select Daily or Weekly
  8. Close the Software Update panel

Page last reviewed: September 3, 2009