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Millikan Computer Technologies
services TECH INFO—SECURITY

 
Microsoft / Windows Updates    

Windows is your computer’s operating system, the brain, if you will. It is programmed, manufactured and distributed by that business behemoth, Microsoft. You are probably running Windows XP on your system, unless your PC is an older model, in which case you could be running Windows 98, ME or 2000. If you have a really old system you could be running Windows 95, but most of those systems have gone on to computer heaven.

Microsoft tries really hard to make their systems secure and reliable; and all in all, these operating systems are quite good. But despite Microsoft’s best attempts, these operating systems have weaknesses and security issues found on an almost weekly basis. So, as these deficiencies are found, Microsoft develops fixes, or patches, and delivers them to us via Microsoft Update (the newer version of Windows Update).

If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista and have an always-on Internet connection, you can turn on Automatic Updates for your PC. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Click on Start and choose Control Panel from
    the Start Menu.

  2. In the Control Panel, click on Security Center.

  3. In the Security Center, make sure Automatic
    Updates is on.

  4. Automatic Updates is on by default. If it is not on, at some point someone changed this setting on your computer, and you need to follow the directions to turn it on.

You can manually run Microsoft Updates for XP and earlier versions by following these steps:

  1. Be sure your Internet connection is active.

  2. Click on Start, Programs and choose either Microsoft Update or Windows Update, whichever one you see at the top of the programs list.
 
  1. If you have not upgraded to Microsoft Update, the first window you see will offer you the opportunity. You should do this, especially if you have any of the Microsoft Office programs (such as Word, Excel, etc.) loaded on your computer. Windows Update simply offered updates to the operating system; Microsoft Update provides updates for the operating system, Office programs and other items within the Microsoft system.
  2. Once Microsoft Update has loaded, or if you already have it loaded, the Update screen asks you to check for updates. Click on this button.

  3. Update offers you the choice of Express or Custom updates. Express will automatically download and install all critical updates. Custom allows you to review the available updates first and then choose which of the updates you wish to download and install. For basic users, choose Express. If you are a medium to power user, feel free to use Custom.

A couple of notes before we leave Update:

  1. If you see a little yellow shield in the notification area on the taskbar (this is the area at the bottom right of your computer with all the colorful icons), you have updates ready to install on your computer. Click on the yellow shield and a window pops up on your desktop telling you that updates are ready to be installed. Once again you have the choice of Express or Custom installation. See point 5 above for how to proceed.

  2. If you are running Windows 95, 98, ME or 2000, Microsoft has “pulled the plug” on Update support. This is just Microsoft’s way of “encouraging” folks to pay the money to upgrade to the newest Windows operating system or purchase a new PC with the newest operating system.

So, in summary, to secure your PC: install and use an anti-virus and anti-spyware program(s); ensure a Firewall is active; download and install Microsoft Updates. Nothing will guarantee a trouble free PC, but these steps will go a long way towards achieving that goal. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 847/859-2727.

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