How to Force a Windows XP Update

By Perry Piekarski

Microsoft routinely releases updates for its operating systems, including Windows XP. While Windows XP has a feature that automatically updates your computer for you, it's possible to force the update to start manually. Updating your Windows XP computer ensures that you have the latest security patches and bug fixes from Microsoft. Depending on how long it's been since your last update, the process could take a matter of seconds to as long as 30 minutes.

Step 1

Click the "Start" button on the Windows XP taskbar.

Step 2

Select "All Programs" from the bottom of the Start menu.

Step 3

Click "Windows Update." Your Internet browser will open and take you to the Microsoft Update website.

Step 4

Click "Express" to have Microsoft and Windows XP automatically install the updates for you, or click "Custom" to select the updates yourself.

Step 5

Click the "Download and Install Now" button to download and install the latest updates for Windows XP.

Step 6

Click "Install Updates" on the "Review and Install Updates" page to get even more updates for your computer's operating system. You may need to reboot your PC after the update is finished to complete the installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Configure your settings for Windows Automatic Updates by clicking the "Start" button, clicking "Run," typing "sysdm.cpl" and pressing "Enter." Then select the "Automatic Updates" tab.
  • Do not power off your computer while it's installing any updates.