Microsoft offers an update feature in Windows that will automatically apply any security and other important updates for Microsoft software and third-party drivers to your PC, provided it's connected to the internet. This means there's no need for you to manually visit the Microsoft Update website and search for patches and other software updates. Instead, the operating system detects when you're online and automatically searches for any updates, notifying you in the taskbar if it has found any and begun installation.

Here's how to turn on automatic updating in Windows 7.

Step one
From the Start menu, open the Control Panel.

Step two
Click the System and Security tab and then select Turn automatic updating on or off from underneath the Windows Update section.

Step three
From the window that appears, make sure the drop down menu underneath Important updates it set to Install updates automatically (recommended). You can select often updates are applied and at what time by using the drop down menu next to Install new updates.

Step four
You can also choose to have updates labelled recommended delivered in the same way as those dubbed Important simply by checking the box under the Recommended updates section. Furthermore, you opt to let all users of the PC install updates and getting updates for all Microsoft software by checking the relevant boxes. Press Ok to apply the settings.

Step five
If you change your mind and want to switch back to manual updating, then simply change the drop down menu underneath the Windows Update section to Never check for updates and press Ok.