There seems to be a weekly ritual of groans in our office thanks to Windows updates.
These updates are mainly security-related but can be an inconvenience nonetheless, forcing users to either restart straight away or postpone them every few hours.
However, there are a few ways to tweak these settings…
Windows Vista and Windows 7
First of all, to access the Windows Update settings in Vista or Windows 7, click the "Windows" icon, select "Control Panel" and then "Windows Update". Alternatively, you can also click the "Windows" icon, "all programs" and then "Windows Update".
On the left-hand side of the menu, you'll find a variety of options, but you'll want to select "change settings".
You can change when updates are installed under the heading "Install new updates", found under the "Important updates" heading. From here, you can choose which day and time you'd like the updates to be installed. For instance, you could set the updates to run just before your work day ends.
While it's not recommended to completely turn off Windows Update, the option is there. This can be found under the "Important updates" header.
To access the update screen in Windows XP, hit "Start", then click "Control Panel", "Security Center" and "Automatic Updates".
To change when and how often updates are installed, change the fields under the "Automatic (recommended)" header. Alternatively, you can choose to download the updates but not install them straight away. However, if bandwidth is a concern (or for any other reason), you can choose to have Windows notify you of new updates but not download them at all.
It's also possible to turn automatic updates off in Windows XP, although it's not recommended, by clicking the "Turn off Automatic Updates" option.
Note: If you're at work, these settings are likely to be controlled by the administrator.