If ABC and CNN had done their Windows Updates, there would have been no crisis last month when the “Zotob” virus took down their computers. Microsoft found and fixed that security flaw on April 9th 2005, and the virus hit on August 17th.
Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft really is trying to make a good product. They even built a “Windows update” feature right into the first version of Windows 98, and it’s gone into all subsequent Windows releases. In Windows XP, it will even update automatically, if you set it to do so.
I prefer the “automatic updates”, and have very rarely seen problems arise from doing them. Some technicians and IT people prefer to do the updates manually, and that’s fine too, as long as they get done.
In the lower right corner of your computer, there may be a yellow exclamation point. This is Microsoft’s way of telling you that you have “Critical” Windows updates to download or install.
Time after time, people and businesses ignore the “Critical” Windows updates, and then seem genuinely surprised when something bad happens.
Users can log in to the Microsoft Update website, and pick and choose what updates they would like to download and install for FREE. There are a large number of updates available for your computer, no matter how new it is.
To get your Windows updates, in Windows XP, just go to Start – All programs – Windows Update – and follow the instructions there.
Even if your computer is set to get updates automatically, you STILL need to go there and do this. Microsoft has a new “validation” feature that will not update automatically, so go do it now.
After the update, you may be prompted to reboot. Once you do that, you’ll have the latest updates available for your version of Windows and you’ll be protected. It’s not hard.
After you run your updates, be sure your computer is set to get future updates automatically too. Right click on My Computer and go to “Automatic Updates” and select the appropriate option and time for you to get the updates.
Updating your critical Windows files may not make everything work perfectly, but it certainly will go a long way towards making your Windows installation as safe and secure as it can be, and keep you from becoming another statistic.