There are two types of updated which need to be applied after Windows XP has been installed, Hotfixes and Service Packs. Hotfixes are one-off updates, often issued as security patches when new vulnerabilities are discovered. Service Packs are all the updates issued over a period, rolled up into a single update. Windows XP is currently on Service Pack 2 (SP2), with SP3 expected sometime in 2008.
The easiest way to perform post-installation updates of Windows XP Professional is through Windows Update, a utility that connects to Microsoft's website and checks that you have the most up-to-date version of the XP Professional files. To run Windows Update, make sure that you computer is connected to the Internet and click Start > Help and Support. From the Help and Support dialog box, select Windows Update. Your computer will be scanned, and you will be given a list of suggested downloads to choose from.
Common update categories include:
- Critical updates and Service Packs
- Windows XP updates
Next: Installing Hotfixes