Windows Updates Overview

After installing Windows, check whether Microsoft has any Windows updates including fixes, patches, service packs, and device drivers, and apply them to the Windows system. By adding fixes and patches, you will keep Windows stable and secure. If there are many fixes or patches, Microsoft releases them together as a service pack or a cumulative package.

To update Windows Server 2008 R2, Internet Explorer, and other programs that ship with Windows, go to Windows Update in the Control Panel or click the Start button and select All Programs, and then select Windows Update. Then in the left pane, click Check for updates.
See Figure below. Windows will scan your system to determine what updates and fixes your system still needs. You then have the opportunity to select, download, and install each update.

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Figure: Running Windows update

Microsoft routinely releases security updates on the second Tuesday of each month on what is known as “Patch Tuesday.” Most other updates are released as needed, which are known as “out of band” updates. Since servers are often used as production systems, you should updates to make sure they do not cause problems for you. While Microsoft does intensive testing, occasionally problems do occur either as a bug or a compatibility issue with a thirdparty software.

For small environments, you can configure your system to perform Auto Updates to ensure that critical, security and compatibility updates are made available for installation  automatically without significantly affecting your regular use of the Internet. Auto Update works in the background when you are connected to the Internet to identify when new updates are available and to download them to your computer. When download is completed, you will be notified and prompted to install the update. You can install it then, get more details about what is included in the update, or let Windows remind you about it later. Some installations may require you to reboot, but some do not.

To change the Windows Update settings, click the Change settings option in the left pane of the Windows Update window. See Figure below. The options allow you to specify whether to download and let you specify which ones to install, specify which updates to install and then download, or just disable Windows Updates all together. You can also specify whether Windows Update will check for Microsoft products other than the operating system and also install software that Microsoft recommends. If Windows update fails to get updates, you should check your proxy settings in Internet Explorer to determine whether it can get through your proxy server (if any) or firewall. You should also check whether you can access the Internet by attempting to access http://www.microsoft.com.

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Figure: Choose how Windows installs updates

To see all updates that have been installed, click the View Update History link on the left pane. If you suspect a problem with a specific update, you can then click Installed Updates at the top of the screen to open the Control Panel’s Programs. From there, you can view all installed programs and updates. If the option is available, you can then remove the update.

Larger organizations don’t typically expect each user to download updates for his or her computer.Instead, a Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is used to automatically install Windows updates. Different from getting updates from the Windows Update Web site, WSUS and SCCM allow the administrators to test the updates and approve which updates will get installed on the client computers.