Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Enabling automatic updates on Windows, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- It's very important to keep up to date with Windows Security Updates. On the second Tuesday of the month Microsoft releases patches and updates for Windows. It actually has the nickname Patch Tuesday among IT and computer professionals. These updates consist of new virus definitions, operating system bug fixes, and patches for security holes that have been discovered since the last update. Keeping up to date with these security fixes is the very first step to knowing how to stay safe on the internet and on your computer. It's also a great skill to know how to manually update your computer, especially if you're using a computer that hasn't been turned on in a while.
You could have upwards of hundreds of security patches to apply. But first let's make sure your computer is set to download and install updates automatically. To do that I'm using Windows 8.1 and I'm going to move my mouse to the right-hand side of the screen to expand the Charms bar and click Search. In the Search bar type Windows update. From the search results click Windows Update Settings. Here's where I can see that I'm set to automatically install updates. That means that my computer, when new patches are released on Tuesdays, is going to automatically download and then install them.
If this wasn't the case, if this isn't what you see here or if you want to change that, you can click Choose how updates get installed. From the drop-down menu you can change this setting. Now I highly recommend setting it to Install updates automatically, this way you don't even have to remember it, but you can choose to Download the updates, but choose whether or not you want to install them. You can also have your computer simply check for the updates, but then decide whether or not you want to download and install them. And finally you can have it set to never check for updates, which is not recommended at all.
When you've made your choice, click Apply and your computer will remember the setting. To close out of that box, move your mouse to the top right-hand side of the screen and click the x in the top right-hand corner. Now I'm going to show you how to download and update Windows manually at any time. Again let's expand the Charms bar, click Search, and type windows update again. Except this time I'm going to click Windows Update. Now I can see how many updates I have here. If I don't have my computer set to automatically download and install updates, I can click Check for updates on the left-hand side.
This is something that you're going to want to do if you are turning on a computer that you haven't used in a very long time. It probably is in need of many, many security fixes. So once you've checked for updates and downloaded them, now you need to install them. I'm going to click on 32 important updates are available. This is going to show me all the updates. I can see on this screen that there's several Office patches, if I scroll down a little further I can see that there's some more patches for my operating system. On the left-hand side I can see which updates are considered Important by Microsoft and which ones are Optional.
The Optional updates are ones that aren't necessary to fix important security holes. I'll click back on Important. Now I can install them by clicking Install on the bottom right-hand side of the screen. I'm not going to do that and I'm going to click to close out of this because there's one more thing I want to show you. Most installs will download and install without ever needing any additional action from you, however occasionally it might need your permission. You'll know because you'll either get a very large popup on the screen or you'll get a notification on the bottom right-hand side of your screen, near the clock, you'll have an action center message.
If that happens you can click on it, it's always okay and it's always recommended to install important Windows Security fixes when they come up on the screen. Up next I'm going to show you how to keep your Mac up to date with security fixes.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings