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This chapter is from the book

Performing Post-Installation Updates and Product Activation

Chapter 2 introduced the concept of product activation, and it explained how Microsoft uses activation to combat software piracy. Even though you activated your computer running Windows XP, you are required to activate your product again after upgrading to Vista. You should note that product activation (which is required) is not the same as registration (which is optional). Windows operates at reduced functionality after the grace period unless you activate the product. Registering your copy of Windows Vista allows you to receive updates and other offers from Microsoft and provides ready information to Microsoft tech support personnel should you ever need their services.

If you entered your product key during installation or upgrading, Vista is automatically activated three days later. You can activate Vista sooner if you desire. Follow Step by Step 3.4 to complete product activation.

If you are not connected to the Internet, you can telephone a customer support representative at Microsoft. Select the option to generate an installation ID that you can give to the support representative, who will provide you with a confirmation ID that you type into the activation wizard to complete the procedure.

Installing Updates and Hotfixes

Updates, hotfixes, and patches are designed to repair specific problems that are uncovered from time to time after the release of a new operating system or major update such as a service pack. Their purpose is to correct security-related or performance-related problems and maintain the operating system in an up-to-date condition at all times. Microsoft operates the Windows Update website that analyzes your computer and determines which updates are required to keep your computer up-to-date and downloads and installs these updates automatically. These updates take place in the background while you are working on other projects and inform you if a restart is needed. If this is so, you can schedule the restart so that it does not interfere with completion of your work.

When you install or upgrade to Windows Vista and select the option to download updates at the time of installation, your operating system is up-to-date with all patches and hotfixes at that time. Microsoft releases additional updates on a periodic basis (generally monthly on the second Tuesday of each month). Automatic Updates is turned on by default at installation time so that you will receive these updates as they are made available. However, this feature provides several settings that enable you to manage how you receive and install these updates.

Managing Automatic Updates

The Automatic Updates feature in Windows Vista enables computers to automatically connect to the Microsoft Windows Update website and download the latest updates, hotfixes, and patches. You can specify how and when your computers are updated, and updates can be downloaded and installed in the background while you are working.

To configure options for automatically receiving updates, follow the procedure outlined in Step by Step 3.5.

Administrators can configure Automatic Updates for all computers in an Active Directory domain or organizational unit (OU) by means of Group Policy, which offers the same options as outlined here. In this way, you can ensure that all computers automatically receive the required updates. In addition, you can specify that the client computers download their updates from a server running Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) on your network. By doing so, you can reduce the Internet bandwidth required for downloading updates, and you can test updates in a lab environment to ensure that they do not cause problems with services or applications on the client computers.

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