Make sure you update your computer

On the second Tuesday of every month Microsoft release security updates and patches for their Windows software. This has now commonly become known as Super Patch Tuesday.

Usually these updates fix various security issues or bugs in Windows that have been found by Microsoft or by security professionals working in the IT industry. Microsoft currently release updates for their Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems – Windows XP is no longer updated by Microsoft. You can read the boring stuff about the Microsoft Security Bulletin here.

Organisations will usually manage these updates centrally, testing them in-house first to ensure that they don’t conflict with other software, and then distributing them to all the computers in the enterprise. This is what we do at Ivanhoe Grammar School with the IT Services Department pushing out the relevant updates to staff and student notebooks. If you have a notebook computer supplied by your company chances are you don’t have to do anything.

But for your Windows PC at home you should check to ensure that your computer is being updated by following these easy steps:

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Double click on Windows Update.
  3. Click Check for updates. This will check your computer against the Windows Update site and see what is required.
  4. If there are updates you will see a list of important updates and a second list of optional updates. You should select all the important updates. The optional updates are often driver updates or Language Packs – you can choose whether to install these or not.
  5. Click Install updates to start the download and install process.
  6. Go for a walk, have a coffee, come back in 30 minutes!
  7. When the updates are finished you will probably have to restart your computer to finish the installs.

The good news is that you can automate this whole process by clicking on the option Change Settings. This will allow you to set a time when updates are downloaded and installed silently – all you will receive is a notification to restart your computer. The setting to change here is the time to install new updates. On my computer the default is 3.00am. Clearly most of us are not up at this time of the day with our computers on, so I would change this to 7.00pm.

If you have an Apple Mac computer please don’t think that you can sit back and relax either! Apple routinely release rather large updates for their computers and you should check for updates regularly.

  1. Go to the Apple Menu (top left).
  2. Select Software Update.
  3. This will load the updater which will check for the latest updates. It also checks other Apple software such as iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband etc.
  4. Ensure that the updates are selected and click Install.
  5. As with Windows this make take some time to download and install, and you will probably need to restart the Mac.

At the same time you should ensure that your Anti-virus software is up-to-date too. We have a post on this already.

About Gavin May

Gavin May is a parent at Ivanhoe Grammar School and formerly the Director of ICT. www.icybersafe.com is aimed at helping parents live in a connected world, where the internet is central to much of what we do, and certainly much of what our children do. The easy option is to just block it - the better option is to get involved and stay informed.
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3 Responses to Make sure you update your computer

  1. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could
    connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only
    having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    • Renata Rowe says:

      Thank you for your kind comment and advice. I am not a website expert and would love any advice as to how to make it look better. I am just a teacher trying to keep parents informed so have low level IT skills in this area! You sound like you know what you are talking about! Perhaps I will ask my IT people at work to have a look and see if they can work on improving it. Kind Regards, Renata

  2. great post, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector don’t understand this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers’
    base already!

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