How do I update Windows 7?
This may seem obvious, but I'm used to "Update Windows" as an option in my Start menu and it's not there any more in Windows 7. How do I update my Windows 7 installation to ensure it stays up-to-date on patches, etc?
The official party line on this one is that you should be running autoupdate by default, which means that when there's a patch, update, or fix available from the Microsoft mothership for Windows 7 you'll have it automatically show up and install.
Now I'm with you, however. Since I generally run the various Windows operating systems as virtual machines on my Mac (and it works great, btw, using VMWare Fusion) I like to force a system update if it's been a few weeks or longer since the last time it was booted up. As with many automated things, autoupdate seems to be built on the assumption that your computer is always on, always running, so checking every 24 hours -- or even less frequently -- is fine.
The first time I had a beta of Win7 running I too encountered the strangeness of the start menu:
Shiny new Start menu, but no "Windows Update" option.
So where is it?
Turns out that it's tucked away in one of the non-obvious menus in Internet Explorer 9, the menu that you get from the "Safety" option:
See it there on the bottom?
I think this is a problem because Windows still hasn't gracefully integrated the Web browser with the rest of the operating system and when I go to Internet Explorer, I think that I'm working on Web stuff, rather than using that as an interface for the entire system. Ergo, "Safety" seems like it should help me protect my kids from porn, my computer from viruses, etc. Not update the entire OS itself.
Anyway, perhaps you aren't saddled with the same antiquated dichotomy in your head so it's not an issue. :-)
Choose "Windows Update" and...
As I expected, there are a bunch of updates because I haven't run it in a few weeks (or longer). In this case, 7 seems like a significant number, so I click on "Install updates" and proceed...
... and ...
Finally, things are looking promising, the updates have all been downloaded, and we're ready to restart the computer. As you already know, most all Windows updates require a reboot, so it's always a good idea to quit every other running app prior to applying them.
Click on "Restart now" when you're ready to have all your other applications and programs stop running and when you restart, you'll see...
As it says, NEVER turn off or power down - or accidentally unplug! - your computer during the actual Windows update process. It can easily leave your computer non-functional with a corrupted operating system!
Once it's done configuring and installing all the updates, it'll boot up normally and you're good to go with a shiny new updated Microsoft Windows 7.
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