Should I Install Optional Updates?

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Optional updates can make an employee's computer better.
Image Credit: Christopher Robbins/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Windows updates help keep your business's computers safe from known Windows and Microsoft software vulnerabilities. They also address system bugs. While Microsoft recommends installing most updates, optional updates are not essential. If you don't install them, your system will still be secure. If you do install them, you will have access to new software and enhanced features.


What Are Optional Updates

Optional updates are designed to provide new software and improve upon existing features for a better overall user experience. For instance, the latest version of Windows Media Player would be listed as an optional update since it's not vital to the security or performance of your computer. The updates address non-critical performance issues you may not even realize exist. Any available optional updates are listed in Windows Update under "Optional."


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Choosing What to Install

Your business should only install the optional updates that are actually applicable to the business. For instance, if employees don't use Windows Media Player at all, updating it isn't going to improve the Windows user experience. Select each update individually to view a detailed description to determine if the update is beneficial to you. If the update is for a program or feature you use frequently, installing it is a good idea in order to get the latest features and performance enhancements.


Manual Installation

Unlike high-priority updates, optional updates are not downloaded and installed automatically. If you have automatic updating set up, you must still review and install optional updates manually. Windows will check for optional updates each time high priority updates are installed. You must manually open Windows Update to view and install any optional updates.


Software and Hardware Updates

Optional updates may apply to any Windows features and Microsoft-related software, even if it's not currently installed on your computer. For instance, if you've uninstalled Internet Explorer, you may see the latest version listed as an optional update. If any installed Microsoft software requires a critical security update, the update will be listed with important and high priority updates instead of as an optional update.


These updates can also improve hardware performance in the form of non-essential driver updates. Hardware updates address minor performance issues reported by users or the hardware manufacturer. You can choose to download these updates or check for updates and drivers from the hardware manufacturer.




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