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Microsoft Download Center: Help

On This Page
What You Should Know About Software Updates and Microsoft Software PoliciesWhat You Should Know About Software Updates and Microsoft Software Policies
How to Find DownloadsHow to Find Downloads
Cannot Find What You Are Looking For?Cannot Find What You Are Looking For?
What You Will Find on Download PagesWhat You Will Find on Download Pages
About Windows Genuine Advantage DownloadsAbout Windows Genuine Advantage Downloads
Installing DownloadsInstalling Downloads
About Worldwide DownloadsAbout Worldwide Downloads
Troubleshooting the Download ProcessTroubleshooting the Download Process
About Download RecommendationsAbout Download Recommendations

What You Should Know About Software Updates and Microsoft Software Policies

Microsoft is committed to providing its customers with software that has been tested for safety and security. Although no system is completely secure, we use people processes, technology and several specially focused teams to investigate, fix and learn from security issues to help us meet this goal as well as provide guidance to customers on how to protect themselves. As part of Microsoft’s software release process, all software released to the Download Center is scanned for malware before it is made available for public download. Additionally, after release, the software available on the download center is routinely scanned for malware. Microsoft recognizes that the threat environment is constantly changing and will continue to evolve over time, and we are committed to process improvements that will help protect our customers from malware threats.

The Microsoft Download Center is a valuable resource for locating specific or popular downloads, including software updates. However, the easiest way to keep your computer current with the latest high-priority software updates is by using these update resources:

Microsoft Update
The Microsoft Update Web site scans your computer and recommends updates that you may need for Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, and other programs.

Windows Automatic Updates
The Automatic Updates feature can be configured to download and automatically install high-priority updates as soon as they are available. Learn more on the Protect Your PC Web site.

How to Find Downloads

If you would like Microsoft to scan your computer and recommend updates, please see the preceding section. If you would like to search for specific downloads, use one of these two methods.


Select from Most Popular Downloads
The most popular downloads for each category of the Download Center are listed on the home pages for those categories (example categories: Games, DirectX, and Internet). Click the "See Additional Popular Downloads" link under each "Popular Downloads" list for a more complete list of downloads, ranked by popularity.


Conduct a Search
The search tool allows you to search by keyword or product/category, and lists results in order of download popularity.

To search by keyword, type words into the text entry box.

To narrow the scope of a keyword search, choose a product or category from the list, and enter any keywords.

To list all downloads in all categories, do not choose a product/category and do not enter any keywords.

If a keyword search produces few results, check your spelling, try different keywords, or expand the scope of your search to the entire Download Center.

Cannot Find What You Are Looking For?

If you cannot find a specific download, it may be available from a company other than Microsoft. Popular examples include Adobe Reader, Macromedia Shockwave and Flash players, and Java software. For current links to these downloads on their respective Web sites, use Microsoft.com Search. If you are certain a specific download is from Microsoft and you cannot find the download in the Download Center or through our automatic update services, please Contact Us.

What You Will Find on Download Pages

When you click a download title in the Download Center, you will be directed to the download details page for that download. Most of these pages follow a standard format and include most—if not all—of these sections:


Quick Info
The "Quick Info" box contains helpful summary information, including the name and size of the download file and its date of publication.


Download Button or Link
You will see the Download button or link in the upper right-hand part of the "Quick Info" box. Click this button or link to begin the download. For downloads that have multiple files, you will find a link to the list of available files.


Change Language
In most cases, directly below the "Quick Info" box you will find a drop-down list from which you can select a language other than English. Note that some downloads are not available in all languages. In addition, not all non-English downloads are accompanied by localized details pages. As a result, you may find English descriptions and instructions on pages for non-English downloads.


The "Overview" section includes a brief explanation of the issues addressed by the download and the benefits it provides.


System Requirements
Always check the "System Requirements" section to make sure your computer is compatible with and has the space required to install and run the download. This section may also list required or recommended application software.


Review the "Instructions" section before clicking the Download button, so you are prepared for any steps you may need to follow.


Multipart Downloads
If you see a table listing files for multipart downloads, the download is large enough that it had to be broken into multiple download files to be downloaded separately.


What Others Are Downloading
Sometimes it can be helpful to see what other people downloaded that might be related to the current download. As a result, you can see what other people downloaded who also downloaded the file on the current page.


Additional Information
We provide further information that is either directly related to the current download or, as in the example of security update information, meant to help keep your system running securely.


Related Resources
These links take you to how-to information, newsgroups, special offers, and other resources pertinent to the download you have selected.

About Windows Genuine Advantage Downloads

You may notice that some downloads have an icon next to their name in the Download Center. These downloads also have a highlighted section about Windows validation just below the "Quick Info" box on the download details pages. These downloads are part of the Windows Genuine Advantage program, which was developed to ensure that Windows users receive all the benefits of running authentic, fully-licensed copies of Windows. To access a Windows Genuine Advantage download, follow the appropriate process:

If You See a Download Button or Link
Click the button or link to download the file.

If You See a Continue Button or Link
Click the button or link and follow the instructions provided. After the validation process has completed, you will be returned to the download details page with the Download button displayed. If Windows cannot be validated, you will receive additional instructions.

Installing Downloads

Before you can use any software that you download, you must install it. For example, if you download a security update, but do not install it, the update will not provide any protection for your computer.


Save and Install
Follow these steps to save and install a download:


Click the Download button on the download details page.


A dialogue box will open. Click the Save button.


You will be prompted to select a location on your computer to which you will save the download. Select an appropriate location and click the Save button.


When the file has finished downloading, you will see a second dialogue box. If you want to install the file immediately, click the Open button. This launches an installation wizard.


If you do not want to immediately install the file, click the Close button. When you are ready to install the download file, double-click the file to launch the installation wizard.

Note   When you save a download file, make sure the location is one you will remember later when you want to install the download. We suggest creating a special folder on your desktop to which you always save downloads. Follow these steps to create such a downloads folder:


Right-click an unused area of your desktop.


Point to New and then click Folder.


Give the folder a name such as "My Downloads."

About Worldwide Downloads

Microsoft delivers downloads in more than 30 languages worldwide. The tips in this section will help you to find worldwide downloads.

How to Find Worldwide Downloads
You have two primary ways to find worldwide downloads.


Visit a Worldwide Download Center Site


Click Worldwide Downloads in the left-hand menu of the Download Center.


Click a language shown in the list. You will go to a worldwide Download Center home page, where you can browse and search for downloads available in the selected language.

Note   The download details pages on worldwide Download Center sites are displayed in the appropriate language wherever possible. However, if non-English, language-specific details are unavailable, those details will be displayed in English. If the download itself is not available in a particular language, it will not appear on the worldwide site you have chosen.


Select a Worldwide Download from the English Language Site


Look directly below the "Quick Info" box on the download details page for a drop-down list labeled "Change Language."


Select the language you would like and then click the Change button.

Note   The "Change Language" drop-down list appears only when a worldwide version of the download is available. If the list does not appear, the download has not yet been made available in languages other than English. If you see the drop-down list, but do not see a specific language listed, the download is not yet available in that language.

One Version of English Now Supported
The Download Center now combines all English downloads into a single "English" Download Center. We no longer offer separate downloads for United States English, United Kingdom English, Australian English, and Canadian English.

Troubleshooting the Download Process

You may encounter these issues in the Download Center. Try following these suggestions for working around the issues encountered.

Clear Cache
If you cannot complete a download, you may need to clear the cache in Microsoft Internet Explorer, which you can do by following these steps:


On the Tools menu in Internet Explorer, click Internet Options and then click the General tab.


In the Temporary Internet Files section, click Delete Files and then click the OK button, if you would like to empty your entire cache of temporary internet files.


In the Temporary Internet Files section, click Settings. In the Settings dialogue box, select Every visit to the page. Then set the size of the Temporary Internet Files folder to a size larger than your intended download. Next, click the View Files button.


In the Temporary Internet Files window that opens, open the Edit menu and click Select All. Press DELETE. When you are asked if you would like to delete all the cookies you have selected, click Yes. Click the OK buttons until you return to the General tab.


In the History section of the General tab, click Clear History and then click Yes. When you are asked if you would like to delete the history of the Web sites you have visited, click OK.

Connection Termination
Another possible reason for your system not being able to complete a download is that your Internet service provider (ISP) may automatically terminate your Internet connection if the ISP determines your connection has been idle for at least a set number of minutes. Please contact your ISP to disable the automatic termination of your connection when downloading files.

About Download Recommendations

We recommend collections of downloads that might interest you based on what you have viewed in the Download Center.

For example, if you viewed:

Xbox High-Definition Videos

MSN Messenger 7.0 for Windows

MSN Screen Saver (Beta)

Age of Mythology: The Titans Expansion Trial Version

We might recommend:


MSN Messenger Service

MSN Premium Internet Software

Age of Mythology

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