Just as a 1989 Ford Sierra apparently needs a very large spoiler stuck on its backside to look good, so your software needs a regular spruce-up to stay current. While occasionally tedious, software updates are important. The majority of updates are mere tweaks and patches for issues you're not likely to encounter, but among the routine updates you'll often find several marked "important" or even "critical". At the very least, install these.
Once an update is publicly announced, so is the vulnerability it's designed to address. Criminals take no time to reverse-engineer patches and then design viruses, malware and |similar attacks to take advantage of the issue on systems that aren't up to |date. For core software such as Windows, Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer, |unpatched vulnerabilities could be used to infect your machine with a virus, or allow hackers to get at your data.
l Patch Tuesday:
On this day, Windows computers configured to install updates automatically will connect to
The default time for this is
You should use Internet Explorer to access this site even if you normally use another web browser. Windows Update does not work properly without Internet Explorer. Also read Wikipedia's article on Windows Update at www.tinyurl.com/wuwiki2013.
Note that when you instruct your computer to download updates for any
In Windows 7 this is controlled by ticking the box for Microsoft Update in Control Panel - Windows Update - Change Settings, or see this site for guidance: www.tinyurl.com/musettings2013.
l Broken: Updates sometimes break things, which is why many people choose to postpone or ignore them. Sometimes, new versions of programs such as Internet Explorer are installed via Windows Update and these are different from their predecessors - not always in a good way. Fortunately it's rare for a system to be crippled by an update, but it has happened. Just this week, an update to Outlook 2013 made the folder pane appear completely blank (see www.tinyurl.com/ out2013bug).
When an update causes widespread problems,
Most times, though, you can uninstall any update you're not happy with, just as you'd uninstall a program. The process is explained here: www.tinyurl.com/ removeupdate.
l Other programs: It's not just
This week's Patch Tuesday addressed 47 vulnerabilities in
Next week I'll tell you how to keep on top of these and other non-
Most Popular Stories
- MasterCard to Split Shares, Raise Dividend
- Bipartisan Negotiators Reach Modest Budget Agreement
- Justin Bieber Visits Typhoon Victims, Plays Concert
- Russia Says Nyet to Canada North Pole Claim
- AIG to Create 230 Jobs in Charlotte
- Senate Dems Move Forward With Obama Nominees
- GOP, Dems Strain to Unearth a Modest Budget Pact
- Obama Nominee Confirmed for D.C. Appeals Court
- New Obama Aide to Focus on Climate Change
- Office Depot Moving HQ to Florida