Help Desk
MSU-Northern students, faculty and staff - Use the ITS Help Desk as the first point of contact for your technology problems, questions & services!

Information Technology Services Help Desk
Hours of Operation:
   8am-5pm Mon-Fri
Walk-in Support:
   Cowan Hall 117B Telephone Support:
E-Mail Support:

Last Updated: 15-Sep-2014
Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services: Automatic Updates

Updating Windows XP

Windows Update is an online section of the Microsoft Web site that offers the latest updates for Microsoft Windows, Internet Explorer, and other Microsoft software programs (like Office).

Windows Automatic Updates

Desktop computers at Northern are set to automatically check for updates. If you want to check to be sure Auto Update is turned on, or if you want to set up your home computer for automatic updates:

  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Automatic Updates.
  3. Click the Automatic Updates tab.
  4. Select a setting. We recommend Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them.
  5. Then select a daily update time. Keep in mind that your computer must be turned on and connected to the Internet at the scheduled time in order for updates to be installed.

Manually Check for Windows Updates

You also always have the option for manually checking for updates.

  1. Open Internet Explorer.
  2. Click Tools -> Windows Update. This will redirect you to Microsoft's update site.
    (OR... you can click Start -> Windows Update and this launch Internet Explorer & go to the update site)
  3. The web site will check to see if you have the latest version of the Windows Update program on your computer. If you do not have the latest version, you will see a screen asking if you want to download and install it. Click Yes.
  4. You will be presented with two updating options:
    • Express: This is the recommended option to find all needed high-priority updates.
    • Custom: This option will scan for high-priority updates and optional updates, such as drivers or software updates.
  5. You will then be presented with a list of updates.
    • If you chose Express, click Install Updates.
    • If you chose Custom, you will be presented with a list of high-priority update options. Check the updates that you would like to install. On the left-hand side, you will have an option to review software and hardware updates. Select any desired updates from these categories. Once you have selected all desired updates, click Review and Install Updates. You will now be presented with a list of your chosen updates, verify it is correct and choose Install Updates.
  6. A dialog box will open to display the download and installation progress.
  7. Wait for the updates to download and install.
  8. When the updates are done you may be prompted to restart your computer.

It is a good idea to repeat the process until you are sure there aren't any more critical updates. Often, installing a major update like a Service Pack makes a whole new set of important updates available.

Top of page

Mac OSX Automatic Updates

To Check for Critical Updates Automatically:

  1. Click the Apple Menu -> System Preferences.
  2. Under System, click the Software Update icon.
  3. On the Update Software tab make sure Automatically check for updates is checked, and choose Daily, Weekly or Monthly updates from the menu options.
  4. Click Check Now to have your system check for available updates immediately.

To install updates:

  1. A pop-up window will display any available updates. Make sure all Security Updates are checked. Click Install.
  2. Enter an administrator name and password in the authentication pop-window when prompted.
  3. Click Restart to allow system changes to take effect.

Note: The Software Update utility will automatically notify you of available updates. It will only install files at your request.

Top of page

Return to Stay Updated

Did you know?
If you set up Automatic Updates to notify you, or if you forget to leave your computer on, you will see a little notification "balloon" when updates are available. Click the notification balloon to review and install the updates.
It's up to you.
Take these steps to help ensure the security of your identity and your computer.

Security Updates
Antivirus Software
Secure Passwords
Malware Protection
Phishing Tips
Social Networking

Which Updates?
Install updates using the following guidelines:

• Install all "critical updates" as you are informed of them

• Install all "security updates" as soon as possible

• Install "recommended updates" only if they pertain to services or programs that you use

• If you are experiencing problems with your current hardware, you should obtain the latest drivers from the hardware manufacturer, NOT Microsoft.

Install Mac updates using the following guidelines:

• Install all "security updates" as soon as possible.

• Install other updates if they pertain to services or programs that you use.
Windows Security Bulletins
Visit Microsoft® for the latest Windows Security Bulletins
Report Security Incidents
Report stolen devices (laptops, PDAs, etc) and suspected computer break-ins to ITS immediately. The sooner we know about an incident, the sooner we can respond, potentially limiting any damage.
Montana State University-Northern · P.O. Box 7751 · Havre, MT 59501 · 800.662.6132
Copyright © · Disclaimer · AA/EEO Statement · Online Privacy Statement
Since 1929