Help me clean up my mom-in-law's computer

So in the near future I’ll be visiting my in-laws and will no doubt be called upon to fix her computer. Just like last year, I’m sure I’ll find it massively infected with viruses, adware, and malware. I’m also sure Windows Update will not have been updated since I was there last. I’ve tried telling her about computer hygene, and I think it’s getting through some (she doesn’t open attachments from strangers anymore), but I’m sure it’ll still need work.

The rub is, though, that she’s on dialup. Could I download a Windows Update installer and put it on CD? I plan on doing this with the typical anti-spyware cocktail. Are there any good virus scanners I could do this with, too?


Windows Update doesn’t work like that, I think, but you can set it to auto-download updates in the background. Call her up and tell her you heard of some new problem and wanted to tell her about it right away, and she should set it to auto-download all updates.

extrabags: Thanks!

MikeSoafer: She’s on dialup. Will that work?

Also, I did find XP Service Pack 2 as a standalone download. I figure that contains a lot of the recent updates, right?

Yes SP2 has a lot of stuff, but I’m not sure there’s a lot in it that was also released separately. Yes, the auto-update will work even on dialup, it runs in the background whenever you’re connected. I think.

You can actually download all the dozens of Windows updates to your hard drive and then burn them to a CD. Go to Windows Update, and choose Administrator options on the left panel. Then click on Windows Update Catalog in the main text area. This will take you to a page where you can grab all the updates. The difficulty is that if you don’t know which updates you need, you’ll have to grab them all and install them separately, so it can take a while. If it’s only been a year since you last updated her PC, SP2 should have almost all the recent fixes. Mike’s advice about running auto-update in the background is good too.