Your Microsoft Windows Software: The Whys & Hows of Keeping Your Windows
If you were one of
the people to be hit with MS Blaster, chances are that you now realize
how important it is to update your Windows software on a regular basis.
As soon as a vulnerability is discovered in the Windows operating system,
virus writers and hackers get busy to try and exploit that vulnerability
- because they know that even though Microsoft releases an update, that
not everyone will go and update their software, leaving millions of computers
to be affected. (You can read more about MS
Blaster at MyMommyBiz)
How do you know when
there is a vulnerability? There is often discussion about it in the media,
as there was in the month before Blaster made its appearance. You can
also go to http://www.microsoft.com/security/
to read the lastest bulletins, or go to http://www.microsoft.com/security/security_bulletins/decision.asp
where you can sign up to receive an email when a new update is available.
But if you feel you are prone to forget to update your windows software,
you can set your computer to allow it to automatically download critical
updates for you, and it will present you with a "click here"
to install it.
How often should updates
be done? Every time a critical update becomes available. You should check
at least once a month, and when there seems to be more viruses than usual
going around, some will check for new updates every single day. Taking
twenty seconds to check is much easier than having to recover when your
computer has been exploited.
Now that you know
you should update your Windows software, how should you go about doing
that? Here are the instructions for Windows XP, but you will find that
they are similar for whatever version of Windows you are running.
- Close all programs.
- Make sure you're
- Click start.
- Select All Programs.
- Click on Windows
Update (usually near the top).
- Click "Scan
- You'll see both
critical and optional updates. Click the Critical Update box.
- Click the gray
Download box in the upper right corner.
- Click "Start
- Accept any other
- Once all components
are downloaded, restart your computer.
- Update your browser
monthly or whenever a big virus hits.
If you have never
updated your Windows before, or it has been quite some time since you
last updated, you will likely have to go back several times to receive
all the updates (possibly with some computer restarts in between) as some
of the critical pack installs need to be installed on their own.