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by JB Burke

Q. I am running Windows 7 and I have updates set for automatic download, but it lets me decide when to install. I installed the most recent updates and Windows Update tells me I am up to date. But recently a friend told me I might not be altogether current. How can that be so?

A. When you install the latest downloaded updates for Windows 7, Windows will tell you that you are up to date, with last updates installed on whatever today's date is. But there is a chance if you once again click on "Check for Updates" in Windows Update, you may find more updates available. And, having downloaded and installed those, you may need to do it again. The reason is that some updates rely on previous updates before they can be installed. Hence, there is a sequence to be followed. And if you get behind by a week, or a month, or more, you may in fact find that you need to do several iterations of Check for Updates, Install Updates and Check again. Perhaps with a bunch of restarts in between.

I have worked with Windows 7 systems that haven't been updated for months (or years) and it can take hours of updates upon updates until you are finally REALLY up to date. In fact I worked on one today that I was assured was pretty much up to date, and there were dozens of updates waiting, with several restarts. And don't forget to look for recommended updates, not just the required updates. I generally install the recommended updates as well.

One of the benefits of Windows 10 is that from now on, all Windows 10 updates will be automatically installed as they become available. This means you won't easily get behind in the update sequence. This should keep your system safer from security vulnerabilities (many, if not most, Windows updates are to enhance the security of your system) and provide for a safe computing experience.

Published: Courier 8/22/15 - Page 11A