Staying Secure by Staying Updated
There’s a lot you can do in the computing world to stay safe and secure, but number one on that list is making sure everything you use is up to date. Trouble is, this isn’t always the easiest task. Here’s a few helpful tips for how to make it a little less stressful.
1) Windows Automatic Update – Built into every copy of Microsoft Windows is an automatic update tool. This automatically notifies you when there are updates available for your computer to keep you secure. It can be reached by clicking on the Start Menu, going to the Control Panel, and choosing Automatic Updates (or Windows Update and use the Change Settings button found in there). There’s a few different choices in here, such as when to check, and how to treat updates when they are available. You could choose to have them automatically downloaded and installed; but sometimes that can be annoying as they often require a restart of the computer to complete, and will continue to pester you every few minutes until you do. The ideal setting to use is the “Download and notify me when ready to install” choice. This gets the updates onto your computer, allowing you to click to install them when you’ve finished doing the work you’re on.
2) NiniteNinite.com is a unique website. It has a collection of free programs that you can link together in one easy installer. Where this can really be handy is updating some programs. If you use, lets say, Firefox for internet browsing and iTunes for music, you can select Firefox, Flash, Java, Adobe Reader, and iTunes on Ninite. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and download the installer for them. When ran, it will check to make sure you have the latest versions of all these programs, and if you don’t; it downloads and installs the new ones without any further interaction from you.
3) Running Windows Updates Manually – In addition to using Windows Automatic Updates, you can also simply run the updater yourself periodically to keep up to date. You follow the same instructions to reach the Control panel, and choose Windows Update instead. There will be a button to ‘Check for Updates’ that you can click, which will present you with everything to need to install.
Now, the only other thing to consider is other programs running their own automatic updaters. These come with a large tradeoff. Although, yes, they do keep you up to date and secure it is at a cost. They run processes in the background that eat up memory and processor cycles, slowing down your computer. This isn’t as noticeable on newer computers, but in older ones, it can be devastating to the computers speed. It’s situations like these where using the aforementioned Ninite comes in handy, because you can turn off the automatic updaters for Java, Flash and Firefox and just run it on demand when you need to (preferably at least once a week) and save your speed.