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Secure Configuration of Windows XP Desktops

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If the computer is a domain member, then group policy settings are the preferred way of enabling automatic updates. Do so by opening the Group Policy Object Editor and then navigating to Computer Configuration | Administrative Templates | Windows Components | Windows Update (see Step 2, below).

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  1. Use Group Policy Settings
    For computers that are domain members, group policies are the preferred method for enabling automatic updates.


Most enterprise environments use a centralized update server that is responsible for downloading updates, so each machine on the network does not have to download the updates individually. The client workstations then get their updates from this distribution server. Microsoft offers a free Windows Update server product called Windows Server Update Service, or WSUS. You can download WSUS for free at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/wsus/default.aspx.

If implementing a WSUS Server or a third-party product, point the client machine to the update server through the Specify Intranet Microsoft Update Service Location group policy setting.

This was first published in July 2008

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