by Jeremy Miller, Technician
Everyone who owns a computer running Microsoft Windows has seen that pop-up alerting you that you have updates to install or that they have been installed. Updates are fixes for a known issue.
Microsoft uses an application called Windows Update Service to look for new updates, and then it categorizes the various updates by how critical they are.
There are security updates which patch vulnerabilities that can compromise your system.
Critical updates fix major issues found with Microsoft products that can cause errors or unusual behavior. Software updates are non-critical issues such as more features and minor bug fixes.
Service packs contain all updates and patches prior to the service pack. You can install a service pack to apply a large amount of updates at once. Also service packs can determine which software you can run.
It is important to update your computer to keep your computing environment stable. If you allow your computer to get too out of date such as not installing a service pack, you may not be able to run a lot of software.
Even worse if you do not install security updates you will have a larger “known” attack surface for exploits.
Other software updates
Windows is not the only software that updates. You have probably seen Adobe Reader, Flash Player, or Java letting you know that there are updates available for install in your system tray. They update for the same reason that Microsoft updates Windows.
Updates are important to keep your system secure and relatively issue free. Updates can also cause issues sometimes. It is better to install the update on a computer to see if there will be an issue before deploying it to the entire network.
A good example of this is if Internet Explorer 10 has just been installed on your computer and now all of a sudden you cannot print a report, the latest update may be the issue. You should first attempt to work with the new update.
Internet Explorer 10 has compatibility mode to work with older websites, if that does not work you may have to uninstall the update and use Internet Explorer 9. This happens because the company you are printing the report from is not compatible with the new Internet Explorer 10 browser.
You will have to wait until either the company updates their server to be compliant with Internet Explorer 10 or you will have to wait until Internet Explorer 10’s compatibility will work with the site.
Keeping your software up to date is an important part of secure computing. Threats and security holes are discovered every day; it is critical you apply any updates the manufacturer releases.
Not all updates apply to every environment, which means that not everyone will get the same updates; it is based on the software you have installed and when you installed it.
The only software that you should always update would be any anti-virus software. This software usually updates automatically several times a day. The moment your anti-virus gets out of date you are not protected with the latest anti-virus definitions.
If you are having trouble with updates and patching or if you have any questions give us a call. We can make sure your computers are up to date and keep you worry free.