Windows Vista and later provide a Control Panel to configure update settings and check for updates.

The Windows Update Control Panel also has the function of downloading Windows Ultimate Extras, optional software for Windows Vista Ultimate Edition.

The Active X component then executes the downloaded installation files in their silent/unattended mode to install or update those components, and to report the success or failure of those installations back to Microsoft's servers.

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Fixes to Windows 98 to resolve the Year 2000 problem were distributed using Windows Update in December 1998.

Microsoft attributed the sales success of Windows 98 in part to Windows Update.

Initial releases of Windows 2000 shipped with the tool, but Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 were not supported.

It was superseded by Automatic Updates in Windows Me and Windows 2000 SP3.

It also narrowed down the list of available updates for the operating system and related components by sending details of what operating system version, service pack, and locale are installed.

German technology web site published an analysis of the Windows Update communication protocol in February 2003, which received wide attention on technology web sites.Enables the detection, download, and installation of updates for Windows and other programs.If this service is disabled, users of this computer will not be able to use Windows Update or its automatic updating feature, and programs will not be able to use the Windows Update Agent (WUA) API.For previous versions of Microsoft Windows, users can download updates from the Windows Update website, using Internet Explorer.Windows Update was introduced as an Internet web site with the launch of Windows 95.Arie Slob, writing for the newsletter in March 2003, noted that the size of the update list had exceeded 400KB, which caused delays of more than a minute for dial-up users.