Keep Your Windows Operating System Updated

Does Your OS Need To Be Updated?

We say this all the time — is your Windows operating system updated? Yet, many PC users either don’t know why it’s important or how to check for updates. Let’s start with the first. Windows updates are issued for two reasons 1) to patch known security issues, and 2) to deliver performance and feature enhancements. Many times there is a misconception the updates are only for the second purpose, which deters users from installing the latest version.

Users should be keeping their systems updated with the latest Windows version for security purposes. If you’re running an outdated or legacy version (a version of Windows that is no longer supported by Windows), you’re leaving known security holes open on your device.

Confirming You’re Updated – Instructions for Windows 10

To confirm the Windows operating system is updated on your PC, you will want to access your settings.  You can do so by clicking the Start menu and clicking on the gear icon, or you can type “Settings” into the search bar by the Start menu.  Once you access your settings, you should see the screen below.  From here, you will want to click on “Updates and Security”.

From there you will want to click on “Check for Updates” near the top of the screen, as seen here:

Once you click on “Check for updates”, the system will search for all applicable updates.  If any are needed, they will update automatically.  It would also be best practice to restart your computer after this process has completed.

Other Windows Operating Systems

Although screenshots are not available, here are step by step instructions to check for updates available for Windows 8 operating systems.  

Windows 8

  1. Access Settings
  2. Click Change PC Settings
  3. Click on Update and Recovery
  4. From there, click Windows Update
  5. Click the Check Now option
  6. Upon completion, if any updates are found you can click View Details
  7. Click on the updates you would like to install

**PC Matic suggests users install updates to patch all vulnerabilities.

Windows Vista, XP and 7 are all legacy operating systems, meaning they are no longer supported by Microsoft.  Therefore, system updates are no longer available for these systems; however, users do have the option to upgrade to Windows 10. To learn more about upgrading to Windows 10, click here.

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10 thoughts on “Keep Your Windows Operating System Updated”

  1. Here’s what I’ve done that has worked well for me:

    1. Upgrade to Windows 10 Professional. Don’t use the “Home” version (see below)
    2. Once upgraded, initiate Windows 10 Group Policy. Group Policy is not available in the Home version. Do a web search for the procedure to do this. It’s not difficult. Group Policy doesn’t prevent Microsoft from attempting to download updates, but Group Policy gives you CONTROL over whether or not to install them, and if so, the timing of the installs.
    3. Change all of your internet connections to “Metered”, including Ethernet connections. Microsoft does not document this as being a control for Ethernet, but it seems to work for wired as well as wireless connections.
    4. When Microsoft advises “Updates are available”, research them thoroughly before installing. I generally wait one month or a bit longer before installing updates so that any bugs can be worked out.
    5. If the update fails from the System page, install the update by downloading directly from Microsoft’s Update Catalog page: I find the Update Catalog much more reliable than the Windows 10 automatic update download feature, particularly when there are Version changes (ex: ver 1903 to 1909, etc.) The Automatic Update does not handle version changes with 100% reliability.

    Re: Office – I am running Office 2013 and find that all of the Office automatic updates will fail. I have to remove and reinstall Office. Pain in the butt. If you are running Office from a local install (Not Office 365), there are solutions on the web to disable the Office update notices and to prevent the automatic updating. The procedure varies depending on the version of Office you are running.

    Good luck – please know that you can take CONTROL of your updates and not be at the mercy of Microsoft!

  2. I know that updates are SUPPOSED to install the latest in security updates as well as fix problems. But in my experience it will reset all your settings if not break something out rightly. I get very frustrated when it is something that is supposed to improve my system but I end up spending hours fixing what it broke. I feel very stupid having done the upgrade then. Even like the reply I am looking at above from Edward, “… there might have been a problem w/ the Office update…” and I have to say the word “may” should be “always can be”. So I elect not to upgrade. I simply don’t have the time to fix what isn’t broke. Sorry to be so angry about this but I have a computer so that it works. And sometimes the updates simply fix a miss-spelling of something.

  3. Denny Davis, I had been paying amonthly fee for Office 365 until I came across Softmaker which has a word program and an excel like program. It is free. Or purchase for less than $20. It works as well as Microsoft’s Office. I keep the free version beause I don’t need all the bells and whistles; just basic stuff. Google it you may like it.

  4. Russell Cheadle

    I am still running Windows 7, I am wondering how to get BIOS updates for my HP computer. Here is my information:
    HP pavillion 96 notebook, 64 bit OS, 4 GB ram, AMD E-450 APU with Radion HD graphics 1.65 GHz. Windows product number is 00359-OEM-8992687-00010. This machine was purchased before 2015. HP sends messages that say I have updates, but they don’t provide any information about how to get them. BTW. Windows recently sent software updates to my machine. I thought they stopped 7’s support a year ago. Thank you for any help/advise you can offer.

  5. rather than “Once you click on “Check for updates”, the system will search for all applicable updates. If any are needed, they will update automatically.”,

    when you get to “update & security”, it should show if there are any pending updates. select “view update history” to see when the last updates were installed. if there are a bunch pending, research them to see if they are absolutely necessary (security problem fixes). if nit, let them pend.

    selecting “Check for updates” generally will immediately download & install any pending and other updates. NOT always the best decision.

    if your computer is connected by wi-fi, you can control one aspect of the update process. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Status, then select Change connection properties. in Metered connection section, turn “Set as Metered connection” ON. this prevents Windows (or at least it used to) from downloading any updates w/out you explicitly okaying it or explicitly doing the update.

    take control of the update process, read about recent/upcoming updates, then go enjoy life w/out having to worry too much about your Windows computer.

  6. Marjorie Keller

    I thought that when I bought into PC matic, that you would keep my computer up and running and I would not need to do anything. So now you are telling us that we have to use Windows update. I have a 7 that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It is easy to use and I can use all of my old programs. If I switch to 10, I will lose everything. Not worth it.

    The last time I updated with Windows on my 8.1 laptop, it screwed up a lot of stuff and I had to hire someone to fix it.
    i can not afford to do that every time they send an update….which has become almost daily.

  7. Hi,

    Well, I am sorry as every time I update Windows 10 it screws up all my installed drivers and I get every 5 minutes BSOD …


  8. Thank you for this article. I love PC Matic and have you’ve your service for years. I want to tell you, though, about my “recent” experience with Microsoft that I would kike you to comment on, maybe in a follow-up article.

    I bought a Lenovo desktop computer from Best Buy last year and it has worked wonderfully well. I am retired and I use this computer mainly for internet research and home finances, etc. Anymore, my requirements for my OS 10 was for Microsoft Office 2013, mainly for Word and Excel. A month ago I attempted to get online as I do every morning and I was greeted with an announcement that Microsoft had “updated” my Office during the night, and even though my computer said it was connected to my internet, it wasn’t. I spent a week trying to track down the problem and finally, in exasperation, took the computer to Best Buy’s Geek Squad to get some guidance, hopefully they’d know what needed to be down. Their response was the update was problematic for some computer brands and the only “fix” was to wipe the computer clean and reinstall Windows 10. When I went to pick it up they told me that they had to install Office 365 because all older Office programs wouldn’t work anymore. When I told them I didn’t want Office 365 because it is a monthly subscription and I had already bought Office, so why would I want a monthly expense to use something I had already bought. They said because Word and Excel would no longer work unless I used 365, but I could buy a Microsoft code for $150 that would allow my computer to operate any of the older versions. So what is the result? I was charged by Best Buy $370 for their service and a separate storage disk for all the files they could download before wiping the computer. If I bought the code it would put me at $520. I didn’t buy the code, but I was pissed. So I cannot use Word or Excel on my main computer and can only use it on an old laptop and I keep it offline unless I need to take it with me. So Microsoft sold me their products, then through their “update” they disallowed my use of those products unless I am willing to pay them monthly to use it. Seems like extortion to me…pay me or we’ll make you nonfunctional. Sort of like the mafia in Chicago, where shop owners needed to pay for protection services or have their businesses physically destroyed mysteriously overnight.

    Please let me known if I got things wrong. If I’m not understanding something, okay. Maybe, though, if this a common problem, you could include an article of warning to people about how Microsoft is operating this days.

    1. short and simple – there might have been a problem w/ the Office update, but Microsoft didnt mess you around. Best Buy’s Geek Squad took major advantage of you (saying that mildly).
      they (possibly w/out your go-ahead/authorization)
      1) wiped out your computer by re-installing Win10,
      2) sold you an ext drive w/ files they could have restored to your computer,
      3) trashed your Office 13 license when they reinstalled Win10,
      4) installed Office 365 w/out your authorization.
      if it were me, i’d complain vociferously to the GS manager AND the store mgr about their treatment of you. i’d copy all the files from the drive to the computer, give them back their drive and have them issue a credit for the drive. and give them back the Off365 and have them issue a credit for that.

      i have been running Office 13 Student Version ($140) since Win7 then Win 8, and now on Win10 without ANY problems!

      goid luck!

    2. You can run an older version of Office with Windows 10. I have Office 2007 installed on my Toshiba and it works fine

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