Windows Updates… What, When, Why?

Windows Update can be confusing. Microsoft throws a lot of stuff at you, often with little information.

And somehow you have to figure out what you really need, what you might like and what Microsoft wants you to have for their own purposes.

It doesn’t help that most of the updates have totally useless names. Without looking it up, can you tell me why you may or may not need Windows Vista (KB950124)? I can’t, either.

Unfortunately, if you don’t keep up with the patches and security fixes for your version of windows, you run the risk of not only being more vulnerable to a malware attack.

Hackers are always looking for security holes in operating systems and application software to gain access to your computer.

There are many types of updates that can be available for your server or workstation and in most – but not all – cases you will want to install them.

A lot of updates come from Microsoft. Another source is hardware providers that may have made some of the hardware in your computer (like video cards, sound cards, network interface cards, Etc.)

Updates can come from other software that you install to do your work or make your computer run better (like Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash).

The updates that come from Microsoft generally offer more features to a product installed on your computer such as Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, or even Windows itself.

Windows Update also delivers very important patches that correct issues with the operating system and could potentially allow hackers access to your fi les or anything accessible on your computer.

This can include devices that are connected to your computer such as your router, printers, external hard drives, network attached storage, etc. This can be a serious security risk if your computer is on a network domain.

Gaining access to a user’s computer that has administrative rights to various aspects of the network or server would allow hackers to do much more damage than on a PC you use at home.

In a business setting it is an absolute necessity that you keep your server/workstations up to date with all security patches that are appropriate to your environment.

Just as it is very important to keep your operating system up to date, it is also very important that you keep your programs up to date.

One of the most abused programs in regards to gaining access to users’ computers is Adobe Flash and Reader.

These programs are patched regularly to prevent attacks. Since Flash is used on many websites, and Reader is used for many business documents, you almost certainly have them on your computer.

Recently, Adobe announced a vulnerability discovered within its Flash software that allowed hackers to connect remotely to your computer and use Flash to control every aspect of your computer.

This has since been patched (as long as you updated your Flash player), but it just goes to show how easily your computer can be compromised if you do not keep it up to date.

There are times that you may not want to update your software. One example, and there are many, might be your video card drivers.

You may not want to install this update unless you have a specific need.

Sometimes, updates of these type can cause hardware to malfunction and there are times where the update is designed to fix a specific problem. If you don’t have the problem the update fixes, you probably wouldn’t install that update.

If you have any questions, feel free to call a tech today at 734-457-5000.

Feature article By Tech Experts Staff for Tech Experts