Introducing Updates

Windows 7 is an ever-evolving operating system that requires new updates and maintenance constantly. These updates benefit your computer and render it more secure and stable. Microsoft facilitates the process of keeping your computer system up to date via Windows Update. This built-in tool downloads the most current updates, fixups, hotfixes, drivers, and so on for your system and then commences an installation. Updating has never been so easy and so visual.

Over a period of time, your system will accumulate many updates and newly formed software that Microsoft supplies. As you probably know, Microsoft sometimes gathers a mess of these into one package or compilation and releases it as a service pack.

Later in this chapter, we discuss how to install and remove software applications, including issues of running older programs. As mentioned in Chapter 1, "Introducing Windows 7," older (16-bit) software that you have been using for years will have compatibility errors with 64-bit Windows 7, and you'll learn more about these 64-bit compatibility issues later in this chapter. Also included is a description of side-by-side installations in Windows 7, and how the OS uses virtual registries to run different versions of the same software on a PC.

Keeping Windows 7 and Other Software Up to Date

Understanding Windows Live

Some users confuse Windows Update with Windows Live, but they're two different animals. The Windows Live suite of applications available from http://home.live.com (requires a Live login) extends the online communications capabilities of Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Microsoft Office. It includes email, IM, search, social networking, photo management and publishing, home movie editing, blogging, event planning, online file storage, and family safety applications.

To customize the Windows 7 Gadgets, Windows Live Messenger, or Windows Live Toolbar, visit http://gallery.live.com. To use Windows Live features on a mobile device, visit http://home. mobile.live.com/Home.mvc. To use free and low-cost web-based and email business and marketing tools, visit http://smallbusiness.officelive.com.

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