How to Update a Microsoft Windows Computer

Over the years, Microsoft has gone to great lengths in order to improve user experience when updating their Windows 98 operating system.

The following article outlines the steps you should take in order to perform that update and will hopefully serve as a useful guide through the process.

Microsoft Windows Update

If you are running Windows 98 or a more recent version of Microsoft’s operating system, you may update it, and sometimes even some hardware components, through Microsoft’s update site. Here’s what you have to do:

1. Go to (note that you have to open the page in Internet Explorer for it to work).

2. On the Microsoft Windows Update page, select Scan for updates and, if prompted to install a plugin, click Yes.

3. This feature will have to query your computer, so Microsoft is going to gather information from the system which will let the software know what it needs to update.

By the way, there are some myths floating around that Microsoft scans more than it should and may even engage in other nefarious activities during this process. There’s no reason to believe that.

According to the privacy statement, Microsoft only collects your operating system version, Product Key, Internet Explorer version, Version numbers of other programs Microsoft provides updates for, ID numbers of the hardware devices installed in the computer, and region and language settings.

4. After Windows Update is done scanning, the available updates for your computer should become visible. At this point you should install all critical updates and service packs that are available. You may only be able to do a few important updates each time, so it’s best to get those out of the way first.

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5. Although Microsoft offers a few driver updates for hardware components, you shouldn’t expect them to have all the latest drivers. For those, you should go directly to your computer manufacturer.

Whenever you asked to reboot your computer, you should reboot your computer. This can be an important step in the process and may be required more than once before you’ve installed all the updates.

After rebooting, visit the Windows update page again and make sure you’ve downloaded all the files you’re supposed to.

Note: If you’re part of a corporate network or running a pirated copy of Microsoft Windows, you may not be able to perform the update.

In the former case, you should contact your network administrator for help with updating your system. In the latter, we can only recommend purchasing a copy of Microsoft Windows.

Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8

checking for windows updates

Users of Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 as well as more recent versions, can have Microsoft Windows automatically update the system. You can do that by going to the Control Panel, then System, and then selecting the appropriate option from there.

Other hardware drivers

Getting the latest drivers for the hardware components on your computer is a great way of improving your system’s performance. You can usually do that by visiting the website of the respective hardware device’s manufacturer.

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Unable to view Microsoft Windows Update page

Here are a few reasons why you aren’t able to view the Microsoft Windows Update page, together with advice on how to get around the issue:

  • If you’ve recently installed Windows XP, 2000, or an older operating system, the update page is no longer compatible with these operating systems (unless you’re running the latest service pack). Visit KB 2497281 for more information, as well as inks to the service packs you need.
  • The time, date, or year on your computer isn’t set properly.
  • You are attempting to access the Microsoft Windows Update page through a web browser other than Internet Explorer.
  • As mentioned above, if you’re part of a corporate network, your administrator may have disabled this feature. In this case, you will receive a message indicating the Windows Update feature has been disabled. Contact the network administrator to resolve the issue.
  • You are using an illegal copy of Microsoft Windows. Once again, all we can recommend in this case is that you purchase a legal copy.

Every time I run the Windows Update my computer has problems

Microsoft thoroughly tests all updates on a wide range of computer configurations before release, however it is always possible some issue could slip through.

These problems are usually caused by other pieces of software, a particularly rare computer of software configuration, or third-party devices. This is a one of the top 10 windows problems.

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In case you’re experiencing such an issue after running the update and you can’t find any solution on Microsoft’s support page or online, try uninstalling the updates through the Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features utility in the Control Panel, then follow the steps outlines below.

  • Temporarily disable any antivirus or spyware protection program you have installed.
  • Disable any disk software utilities or performance tools running on your computer.
  • While the updates are running, stay away from the computer (in other words, don’t touch anything while the updates are being installed).
  • Clear your Internet history and cache
  • If the problems have appeared after installing driver updates, the best thing to do is installing them from the manufacturer’s website instead.
  • If the update you are trying to run isn’t critically important, do not install it immediately after it has been released. If there’s an issue with the update itself that managed to slip through, Microsoft will find it and release a fix.

How to know if your computer has all the Windows updates

If you aren’t sure whether you have all the latest Microsoft Windows updates installed on your computer, go to and have your system scanned for any available updates. If nothing is found, your computer is up-to-date.

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