Operating System

Understanding How Windows Update Works: A Comprehensive Guide

There is a helpful feature in Windows operating system which you can use to check new updates and update your Windows automatically. This feature is called Windows Update. If you want to know how Windows update works, read this content.

This article is about how Windows Update works, and here, it applies to Windows 10 and Windows 11 only.

What Can You Use Windows Update for?

Windows Update keeps Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft programs updated. Also, updates involve feature improvements and security updates that keep your PC safe from malware and malicious attacks. Another use of Windows Update is that you can use it to access the history of your updates. This updated history shows all the updates that have been installed on your computer via the Windows Update service.

How does the updating work?

While you are updating, the Windows Update Orchestrator will be operating in the background to scan, download, and install the updates. These actions will be done automatically and silently so that you can still use your computer without any distractions.

What are the functionality’s core areas of Windows Update workflow?

  1. The first one is Scan: Orchestrator has two obligations. One is to program the scan, and another is to confirm policies and admin approvals for download.
  2. The Second one is Download:
  • The Orchestrator is responsible for starting downloads.
  • Windows Update client is responsible for downloading files in a temporary folder.
  • Windows Update has the duty of downloading the manifest files. Then, the files will be provided to the arbiter.
  • The arbiter’s obligation is to appraise the manifest files, and then the Windows Update client will download the files.
  • The orbiter categories the files which are downloaded.

3. The third one is Install:

  • The duty of starting the installation is to Orchestrator.
  • Then, the arbiter asks the installer to install the package.

4. The fourth one is Commit: Orchestrator starts restarting. But before that, the arbiter finalizes.

Which Windows Supports the Windows Update Feature?

All the modern Windows operating systems support Windows Update. For instance, Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Note that Windows Update does not update any third-party apps and non-Microsoft apps. To update them, you can do it manually or install a free software updater program to do it for you.

How Can I Access Windows Update?

The method to access Windows Update depends on different Windows operating systems.

Windows 10 and Windows 11:

Windows Update is a built-in feature that is located in Settings. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Go to the Update & Security section.
  4. Select Windows Update from the left side pane.
  5. On the right side of the screen, you can see the Windows Update section.
Windows 10 and Windows 11

Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8:

You can find Window Update on Control Panel. It is integrated as a Control Panel applet. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Click on Control Panel.
  3. On the pop-up Window, go to the System and Security section.
  4. Choose the Windows Update option.
  5. Here, you can find the Windows Update section of your operating system.
Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8

For Windows Vista and newer, you can open the Run dialog box or hold Windows + R hotkey. Then, execute this command: control /name Microsoft.WindowsUpdate.

Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98:

In the older version of Windows, you can access Windows Update by Windows Update Website via Internet Explorer.

Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98

How to Work with Windows Update?

In the Windows Update section, you can see a list of available updates which are compatible with your PC. Then, you need to select the updated version that you want and install the updates. Most of the update process is automated, and you may just need a few actions, like restarting your PC after the update process has finished.

How to Work with Windows Update on Older Version of Windows Update?

There is a tool released by Microsoft which runs in the background and informs you when an essential update is available via Windows Update. This tool is called the Critical Update Notification tool.

In Windows ME and Windows 2003 SP3, there is an automatic update instead of that tool. Automatic updates, install new updates without needing to go through a web browser. This automatic update checks less frequently than the Critical Update Notification tool.


Windows Updates is a feature that assists you in the updating process. In this article, we described how Windows Updates work. Also, you can find other information relating to Windows Updates here. Which types of updates do you prefer? Manually or automatically? Share your ideas with us.

Kimia Sh

Kimia is an accomplished author and technology enthusiast with a keen interest in writing about Windows tips and tricks. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Kimia always had a fascination for technology and its ever-evolving capabilities. After completing her studies in Computer Science, Kimia started working in the software development industry, where she gained extensive experience and technical expertise. Her passion for writing about technology led her to create a blog focused on providing Windows users with useful tips and tricks. Kimia's blog quickly gained popularity, and she became known for her ability to communicate technical concepts in an accessible and easy-to-understand manner. Her articles are praised for their clarity and practicality, and she has developed a loyal following of readers who look to her for advice on getting the most out of their Windows systems. In addition to writing about technology, Kimia is also an accomplished software developer and has contributed to the development of numerous applications and software programs. Her technical expertise gives her a unique perspective on the challenges faced by Windows users, and she is always seeking out new ways to make their lives easier and more efficient. When she's not working on her blog or developing software, Kimia enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. She is also an avid traveler and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines. Overall, Kimia is a talented author and technology expert who is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Her dedication to providing practical, useful advice to Windows users has made her a respected figure in the industry, and she continues to inspire and educate others through her work on her blog and beyond.

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