Keep Your Windows 7 PC Updated with SP1

If you are like most Microsoft Windows users, you are always looking for ways to keep your home or business computer experience running as smoothly as possible.

You have an up to date antivirus protection program installed and running regular scans. You have your system set to backup your important data, either to an external hard drive or an online service (or even both). And of course, you always make sure that you have the latest security updates and operating system patches from Microsoft. This is good, because Microsoft just released Service Pack 1 for Windows 7, the latest operating system found on most new computers.

What if, however, you don’t have your system set to automatically update, or don’t know whether your PC is setup to do so? Well, it’s an easy matter to fix in the former, or check that you’re up to date in the latter.

First, you’ll want to check to see if Windows 7 Service Pack 1 is already installed. You can do so by clicking on the Start button in the lower left hand of your screen, on the Taskbar. From there, right-click on Computer, and then left-click on Properties.
In the System box that comes up, you should see a listing for “Windows edition”. If “Service Pack 1” is listed here, then your computer is up to date.

If your system is not up to date with Service Pack 1, you can click on the Start button, then click All Programs, and then click Windows Update.

When the Windows Update box comes up, you can click on the Change Settings option in the left hand column to check that your system is set to install important updates automatically. This is the recommended option to keep your system protected and performing at its peak. Once you’re satisfied with the settings, you can click OK to go back to the Windows Update box.

Windows Update will list the number of updates available, along with an Install updates button if applicable. In some cases, under the “Updates are available for your computer” dialog, you may see “No updates are currently selected”. In this case, if you see a link for 1 or more “important updates are available”, click on the link to bring up a list of updates to select. You will want to click on the box in front of the updates under the Important tab, such as “Windows 7 Service Pack 1” to select them for install. Then, click on the OK button. This should bring the Install updates button on the Windows Update box.

Before you begin the update, you may want to back up your personal data to protect it should anything go wrong with the update. You will also want to disable your antivirus program to allow Windows to make any needed system file changes. If you are on a laptop, it’s also a good idea to make sure your power adapter is plugged in to ensure the power saving features don’t interrupt the update process.

Once you are ready, simply click the Install updates button. Depending on the number of previous updates, the update should be between 80MB and 800MB. Sit back and relax while your computer downloads the updates and then installs them automatically. Once the process is complete, Windows Update may display a Restart now button. Make sure to close any other programs you may have running, and click the button to restart your system and finish the update.

Once this process is complete, you can revisit the System Properties box using the instructions above to confirm that “Service Pack 1” is now listed under your “Windows edition”.

Windows Update will help keep your computer operating system up to date, but it is not the only updates you can check on. To protect against online threats, it is a good idea to make sure that Java, Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader are up to date as well.

You should also take this time to double check that your antivirus program has recently updated itself, and that your subscription is listed as being good.

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