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How To Change Windows Update Settings in Windows XP

Change How Windows XP Downloads & Installs Updates From Microsoft


Windows Update Settings in Windows XP

Windows Update Settings (Windows XP)

Windows Update is a service by Microsoft that makes it really easy to get the newest patches and service packs installed in Windows XP. On most computers, these updates download and install automatically, usually on Patch Tuesday.

But what if you don't want updates to install automatically? Some Windows XP users, especially those who have experienced issues with automatic updates in the past, would rather have more manual control over what updates get installed and when.

Luckily, you actually have quite a bit of control surrounding automatic updates and making changes is really easy.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Making changes to Windows Update settings in Windows XP will only take a minute or so.

Here's How:

  1. Click on Start and then Control Panel.

  2. Click on the System Center link.

    Note: If you're viewing Control Panel in Classic view, just open Automatic Updates and then skip to Step 4 below.

  3. Once Windows Security Center opens, click on the Automatic Updates link near the bottom of the window.

  4. The options you see here in the Automatic Updates window control how Windows XP receives and installs updates provided by Microsoft. There are four ways of configuring Windows Update:

    Check, Download, & Install

    Choose Automatic (recommended) if you want important Windows XP updates to be downloaded and installed automatically. Select Every day and a time that your computer is usually on but not in use.

    Check & Download (Don't Install)

    Choose Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them to have Windows Update download updates when they become available but wait to install them until you say. You can install downloaded updates from the Windows Update website or via the notification icon on your Windows XP taskbar.

    This is a good option if you plan on installing most updates but like to learn about them beforehand or want more control over when to install them.

    Check (Don't Download or Install)

    Choose Notify me but don't automatically download or install them if you'd like to be kept informed about the newest updates to Windows XP but want complete control over which ones are downloaded and installed.

    Do Nothing (Don't Check, Download, or Install)

    Choose Turn off Automatic Updates to completely disable any sort of automatic checking, downloading, or installing of updates to Windows XP. You'll need to visit the Windows Update website periodically to find out what sorts of updates are available for your computer.

  5. Once you've made your decision, click the OK button to confirm.


  1. Do you have a different version of Windows? See How Do I Change Windows Update Settings? for links to steps specific for your operating system.

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