For some computer users, Windows Update is most terrifying. We have heard all of the stories about how an update crashed the computer, or some other weird thing the update did that caused a lot of grief. True, sometimes an update does cause problems so it is always advisable to make sure your critical data is backed up before an update. However this is not as common as we have been led to believe and if your computer has regular maintenance performed and is kept free of virus and spyware, then problems are not likely to happen.
It is absolutely necessary to keep Windows updated! The updates that Microsoft puts out on the second Tuesday every month close security holes that can make a computer vulnerable to hackers and malware that can damage a computer or more likely, steal vital data!
Once in a very great while, Microsoft will send an update on a date other than 'update Tuesday'. This only happens if a really critical issue needs to fixed as soon as possible!
Most computer users can just allow Windows to get these updates and install them with no intervention by the user. However, some updates require the computer to be rebooted before they can complete the install and this could cause a problem if someone is right in the middle of a project. The best way to handle this issue is to let Windows download the update, but ask you when you want to install the update.
To set your computer to allow the Windows Update to download and install later, go to the Control Panel and select Windows Update.
Then just put a dot by 'Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them'.
I have my Automatic Updates set to 'Notify me but don't automatically download or install them'. The notify icon comes into the System tray so I am sure to see it.
Please note: This is for the more ‘paranoid’; Microsoft does not care what you have on your computer and will not steal any of your confidential information. It is safe to use the update feature!
Windows is not the only thing that needs to be updated!
Many other programs that most of us use have security holes as well. Adobe, Java and other programs are targeted by malware writers and need constant updating. The easiest way to keep up with what programs need to be updated is to use a program like Secunia. You can either download the program or run it online. I have it on my computer as it updates and scans without me having to remember to run it. If it finds something that needs to be updated it lets me know so I can proceed with the updating.