Windows Update is a service that installs the latest updates and patches to your computer, including driver updates for some software and hardware.
If your computer is not performing as well as it should, or if you’re having a problem opening a game, use Windows Update to ensure that your device is up to date.
This article provides information about installing updates and describes how to check for updates and manage update controls and settings.
To see the steps for using Windows Updates, watch our video “Checking for Windows Updates” on YouTube (see below).
Note: This article contains screenshots that are for example purposes only. Actual text and visuals may vary.
About installing updates
Most updates are downloaded and installed automatically without any required intervention. However, updates that are critical to Windows require you to restart your computer to complete the installation.
You can select Restart now to reboot your computer immediately or you can select Schedule the restart to choose a time that is convenient for you.
If you do not restart your computer, Windows Update will eventually force a restart to install critical updates.
Checking for updates
To check for updates:
- Open Windows Update.
Do one of the following:
- Click Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.
- Click Start to access the Search box (if hidden), type windows update, and then select the Windows Update settings.
- Note the last time your computer checked for updates.
- Click Check for updates to search for updates that became available between the last time your computer checked and now.
- (Optional) Click Install now if there are available updates that are ready to install.
- (Optional) Click View optional updates to review available, noncritical updates, like hardware or software drivers.
Select any updates that you want to install and then click Download and install.
Your updates are now installed or you may need to restart your computer to complete installation.
Adjust active hours to reduce disruptions
Use this notification to quickly turn on the active hours feature. You can also turn this feature on/off and modify your hours using the Change active hours option.
Pause updates for 7 days
Pausing updates allows you to temporarily prevent updates from downloading and installing automatically. You can pause updates for up to 35 days. After the pause limit is reached, you will need to install the latest updates before you can pause updates again.
To immediately apply the pause feature:
- Click Pause updates for 7 days.
- Click Pause updates for 7 days again to add more time to the pause period.
Each click adds another seven days until you reach the 35-day limit, and then the option becomes unavailable.
- Click Resume updates to immediately check for and continue automatic updates.
To set a specific pause until date:
- Open Advanced options.
- Under Pause updates, click Select date.
- Select a specific date to resume updates.
Change active hours
Use Change active hours to turn the active hours feature on/off so that you can get updates when you are away from your computer and preclude inconvenient restarts when critical updates are installed.
Additionally, you can manually set your active hours to specify when you normally use your computer, instead of using the hours automatically determined by Windows.
View update history
Use View update history to see a cumulative list of all updates installed on your computer. You can also uninstall specific updates and review your recovery options.
Use Advanced options to review available settings, such as update options, update notifications, and pause updates, and adjust them to meet your needs.