SANDY BERGER: Don't Put Off Installing Those Crucial Computer Updates
Isn't it aggravating? You turn on your computer and are faced with a message that says, "Updates are ready for your computer. Click here to install these updates."
You might be in a hurry to get some work done or send off an e-mail, but you really need to take the time to install the updates.
Microsoft posts an update when it wants to patch the operating system software. A patch of this nature is issued when a hole has been found in the software.
The term "hole" is used to denote a flaw that a hacker can use to access your system. An unpatched flaw of this type can allow a hacker to steal your personal information to perpetrate identity theft and/or for a hacker to gain control of your computer.
This is serious stuff.
Your computer is vulnerable unless you install that update. So take the time to do it right away to ensure the safety and stability of your computer. You may not feel like you need the updates, but you do. Often these are critical security updates.
If you are not ever seeing the reminder to update Windows, then the automatic update may be turned off. To make sure that it is turned on, right click on the My Computer icon and choose Properties. Then select the Automatic Updates tab where you can turn the automatic updates on and/or off, and choose how to handle the updates.
Microsoft has improved the update process. Generally updates are installed quickly and easily. One of the biggest improvements is that you can keep working on your computer while the updates are processed.
Sometimes the automatic updates require you to restart your computer. I know that this is also a pain, but, if you are notified that you need to restart your computer, go ahead and do it as soon as possible.
A notice of this type means that the updates will not take effect until you restart. So you might as well go ahead and do it right away.
If you don't, the computer will continue to nag you about restarting and might even restart itself at an inconvenient time, so it's best to restart when prompted to do so.
Occasionally, an update will ask you to insert a program disk. This is more common for Microsoft Office than it is for the Windows operating system. If this happens to you, read the screen carefully to determine which disk the prompt is asking for. Then insert the disk into the CD drive and follow the prompts to complete the update.
If, against my advice, you do not perform the update when you are first prompted to do so, you will see a yellow shield in the task bar on the bottom right of the screen.
If you put your cursor over the yellow shield it will say, "Updates are ready for your computer. Click here to install these updates." So you can simply click on that icon to start the download and installation of the updates at any time. If you turn your computer off without installing the updates, you will be prompted with the same notice when you restart your computer.
Be sure that you install these updates as soon as possible. They are necessary to keep your computer and your data safe.
Sandy Berger welcomes all of your questions and comments on today's column. Please post them on the Compu-Kiss Message Board at www.compukiss.com/happycomputing.
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