Keeping Your Software UpdatedKeeping all of your software up-to-date is about more than just getting new features or bugs fixed, its about keeping security holes plugged.
Most software will at some stage contain security holes, and if you don't update your software when fixes are available, then you are leaving yourself open to having your computer compromised by viruses and trojans.
Updates fall into three main categories
- Keeping Windows and all your Microsoft Software updated
- Other software that automatically checks for updates
- Software where you need to check for updates
Updating Windows and Microsoft ApplicationsWith windows and other Microsoft software there are two simple ways of ensuring all your Microsoft software is up-to-date.
Windows Update, will check you software and update any that needs updating, and is accessed by visiting the windows update website at windowsupdate.microsoft.com
Automatic updates for windows are available if you are running newer version of windows such as Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows 2003 . You can access the automatic update settings through the windows control panel. With automatic updates for windows, updates are downloaded in the background while you use the internet, or when your computer is not busy if you have a permanent internet connection such as broadband. You can choose whether you want the updates installed automatically, which is the recommended option.
Software that checks for updatesMuch new software, will periodically check for newer versions, and offer to update itself when available. This is especially common with antivirus software that needs to check for updates to the virus definitions regularly anyway. If your software offers this feature, then it is easiest to allow it to check automatically.
Manually checking for updatesThere is still much software that provides no automatic checking to see if new versions are available. For internet software such as email, or chat applications, checking for updates is very important.
Usually if the software doesn't automatically check, then website for the application will often provide a mailing list for security and other announcements. Subscribing to the security mailing list will mean that if a security hole is found, you will get an email announcing a new version of the software which fixes that bug.
If no mailing list exists, then you should try to visit the applications website regularly to check for new versions.
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