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What do I do if my updates don't install?

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The easiest way to get security updates automatically is to go to the Microsoft Update website and make sure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Microsoft Update provides very important updates for performance and security. If you have automatic updating turned on and it isn’t working, or if an update can’t be installed, you will see a warning message.

To troubleshoot Microsoft Update in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP and your updates don’t install, you can use the Windows Update troubleshooter to find and fix problems. To open the troubleshooter:

  • Click the Start button.
  • In the search box, type Troubleshooter.
  • In the results list, click Find and fix problems.
  • Under System and Security, click Fix problems with Windows Update.

Note: Support for Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014. You can get solutions to your Windows XP security issues now, but not for too much longer. If you’re still using Windows XP, you’re missing out on all kinds of security, productivity, and performance enhancements that are available in Windows 7 and in Windows 8.

To troubleshoot Microsoft Update in Windows 8

Windows 8 has an automatic troubleshooter that can fix some common problems with Windows Update. To open the troubleshooter:

  • Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. -If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.
  • In the search box, type Troubleshooting.
  • Tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Troubleshooting.
  • Under System and Security, tap or click Fix problems with Windows Update.

Windows 7

  • Open Windows Update by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Update.
  • In the left pane, click Change settings.
  • Under Important updates, choose the option that you want.
  • Under Recommended updates, select the Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates check box, and then click OK. If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • After you set up automatic updating, all the latest security and performance improvements will be installed on your PC quickly and reliably.