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Part V: An Evening with Advanced Windows > Giving Windows XP a Tune-Up

Hour 18. Giving Windows XP a Tune-Up

This hour shows you how Windows XP checks and updates itself. If you have Web access, you don't need to wait for a disk mailing or go to the store to get the latest Windows drivers and updates. You only click a menu option and Windows updates itself.

Not only can you be assured that you have the latest Windows support files, but you can also make sure that any new computer you purchase looks and acts just as your current computer does. A wizard helps you transfer all your data and system settings to a new computer when you purchase one.

In this hour, you will

  • Learn how Windows XP informs you of system updates

  • Learn how you can delay the update's installation process

  • Learn when Windows downloads update files from the Internet

  • Transfer your data files and customized settings to a new PC that you buy

  • Print a listing of your computer's hardware and software settings

As long as you have Internet access, you can request that Windows XP check the Microsoft Internet sites and update any Windows files that have changed, have been added, or have had bugs which have been corrected. The update site gives you full control over the update. You can

  • View a list of files that are needed by your system to run the latest versions

  • Read a description of each update to help you decide whether you need the update

  • Submit problem reports that you experience

  • Keep track of the updates you apply to your system

The Windows Update program updates your Windows XP operating system files to ensure that you have the latest system files available. Windows Update can be automatic; you don't have to initiate Windows Update although you can if you want.

If you have an always-on Internet connection, you'll probably want to set up the Windows automatic update routine so your version of Windows XP stays as current as possible. The following To Do item explains how to set up the automatic Windows Update feature.

To Do: Setting Up Automatic Updates

Open your Control Panel window.

Click the Switch to Classic View link to see all Control Panel items.

Double-click the System icon.

Click the Automatic Update tab to display the Automatic Update page shown in Figure 18.1.

Figure 18.1. Set up Windows automatic update so your operating system remains current.

You have three ways to respond to automatic Windows XP updates. You can request that Windows XP automatically download any operating system updates when they become available, assuming you haven't already downloaded them, and notify you by a pop-up message from the taskbar's notification area when the update is downloaded to your PC and ready to be installed. You can also request that Windows XP notify you, via a message in your taskbar's notification area, before an update is downloaded to your PC. You can read about the update by clicking the notification area's message and decide if you want to take the time to make the update or ignore it for now. Finally, you have the option to turn off automatic updates so that you only update your Windows XP when you specifically select Windows Update from the Start menu.

Make your selection and click OK.



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