Regular Microsoft Windows 11 updates do not always include all possible driver and firmware updates. Those valuable updates require your personal participation.
For most users, install Windows 11 updates happen automatically and in the background, doing whatever they’re doing on their PC. Whether it’s a scheduled security update on Patch Tuesday or a zero-day vulnerability fix, Windows 11 updates just happen. But that’s not how it works for all possible updates.
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Advanced Windows 11 updates can only be applied if you actively participate in the process. In general, Microsoft considers advanced Windows 11 updates to be optional driver or firmware updates, but if you examine them closely, you are more likely to classify them as necessary, or at least highly desirable. This quick how-to guide explains how to access and install advanced Windows 11 updates.
Access and install advanced Windows 11 updates
As mentioned, these updates are listed by Microsoft in the Advanced and Optional section of the Update Settings control panel, but installation requires your approval and participation. Before you begin, just in case something goes wrong, it’s a good idea to create a system restore point with extreme caution. Prevention is better than cure.
Once done, click the Windows Start button in the taskbar and select the Settings app (gear icon) from the list. Use the navigation bar on the left to select the Windows Update entry, as shown in Image A†
In our example, you can see that we have no official Windows 11 updates to install. However, if we click on the item on this screen called ‘Advanced options’ (Figure B) we are taken to a new screen with additional settings.
Scroll through this list of options until you find an entry labeled “Optional Updates” and select it. You’ll be presented with a list of possible optional updates that Microsoft is aware of, but cannot be installed unless you authorize them. In Figure Bthere are no option updates to install, but if we switch to another PC, the story is very different.
The items displayed in Figure Cthat come from an older PC shows a list of 10 Intel drivers and firmware updates that can be valuable in terms of stability, reliability, and overall performance.
This media PC was behaving flaky and not performing as sharply as it should so maybe applying these updates would help.
Check the items you want to install (all 10 in our example) and click the button to install them. Depending on what is being downloaded and installed, the process can take a few minutes to just a few seconds. A system restart may also be required to complete the installation process.
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After installing the Intel updates on my older media PC, it seems to run more efficiently and with better performance. Obviously, the new set of drivers and firmware contained some noticeable optimizations. Maybe your PC has a few performance-enhancing updates hidden deep within the advanced updates section of your Windows 11 control panel. Have you checked it recently?