Updating Windows Systems

This article explains how to perform updates for Windows systems. It is primarily written for users of Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The section about getting your updates using Windows explorer will also work for Windows 98 and Windows 95 systems. Example screen shots are from Windows 2000.

Emergency Boot Disk and System Backup

It is always a good idea to be sure you have an emergency boot disk and back up your data regularly. This is especially true before performing system updates since if something goes wrong during the update process you may need to repair your system. Even though Windows provides mechanisms to recover from errors that happen during system updates, there is no guarantee that the recovery process will always be successful. While your updates are being performed, if your computer loses power, it could cause harm which may or may not be recoverable. You can read about Making a Windows Emergency Boot Disk here and Backing up your Windows System here.

You should re-create your emergency boot disk whenever you install software on your operating system or perform updates. How often you back up your data depends on how much data you are willing to risk losing. If you back up your data once per week, then if you have a failure, you could lose up to one weeks worth of data.

Windows Update Methods

There are two primary ways which Windows 2000 and Windows XP systems may be updated. They are:

If you are using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME, you will need to use the first method which is the Microsoft Windows Update site.

Windows Update Frequency

If you use the automatic updates, your system will check for updates when you are connected to the internet. If you use the Microsoft Windows Update site to perform your updates, I would recommend you do it about once per week.

Updating Your Windows System