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Do Automatic Updates Really Work?


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I have Windows XP Home edition on two computers, and XP Pro on another.

Although each of the machines is setup for Automatic Updates, they do not receive the updates on a consistant basis. Today, I went directly to the Microsoft website

to get the October updates on one machine, and their scan of the computer shows 8 updates are needed, 7.9mb worth. What good does it do to have the Automatic Updates enabled? :blink:

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As you might or might not know, updates are released on the second Tuesday of each month, so you will not exactly get consistent updates throughout the month if that is what you were expecting, although the computer would possibly be checking all the time it is only going to get the ones that are released on the second Tuesday.

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Well Automatic Updates sometimes will fail if it isn't set to automatically download and install the updates by itself.


Since I'm on a dial-up have it set to notify me that updates are available, of course doing it that way for some reason causes them to fail at a rather high rate, and when that occurs I disable Automatic Updates and then use Microsoft Update. I only wish Microsoft would update the Automatic Update component so that it will know that it has failed and instead offer to load Microsoft Update in Internet Explorer.

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There was a big batch of updates released this month, that's why you got so many. They were all new.


Automatic Update works, but its one weakness, as Andavari pointed out, is that it doesn't let you know when it fails. I had a problem last month, caused by removing some old Norton antivirus garbage. I only found out about it when I happened to see an Update icon appear in the system tray, and then just disappear, with nothing downloaded.


When I checked on it, I found that an update had been trying to download every day for over a week, and failing. I guess the moral is that if you use Auto Update, you still need to pay attention to it.

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:D On my XP SP1 machine, I have turned OFF "Automatic Updates", since I

want to "review" each one. I have subscribed to Microsoft's newsletter

that gives details about each of the updates & when they are released.

I go to the microsoft site to get the updates; there has been recent news

that 1 or 2 of the recent updates may cause problems !? There is quite a

discussion of this by Microsoft MVPs ( Most Valuable Professionals ) on the

forums at www.aumha.net .

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I have Automatic Updates set to notify but not download and install because, when possible, I prefer to test the updates for a few days on the office machine before installing at home.


I never had any problems until MS combined the Windows XP & Office 2003 updates. Since then, if I opt to download and install, nothing seems to happen until I manually connect to the new update site. Perhaps a bug in the new updater?


If it doesn't get better soon, I plan to stop using Microsoft Update and reurn to just Windows Update.

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