What are all these updates?

Tips & Hints


I'm getting messages about updates being ready to install. What should I do?

Patches have always been a problem for computer users. Being complex machines, there’s always something on a computer that can be updated, from fixing irritating bugs to improving security. To make those improvements, software companies make patches for their products.

In the past, this involved getting a disk in the post, more recently it meant finding and downloading the files from an obscure website and doing odd things to the file. These days, Mac and Windows systems have an Automatic Update feature, which tells you when updates are available and downloads them for you.

It’s important to take the update available messages seriously. Often, they are a response to newly discovered security problems, which will almost certainly be adopted by virus writers. You should download and install them immediately.

Microsoft have designated one day a month when they will release updates. Known as “Super Tuesday” (although it’s Wednesday in Australia) there’s usually half a dozen or so security updates for Windows XP. February 2005 saw twelve update released, some of which are shown below.

Operating systems like Windows XP and Mac OSX are not the only programs that have automatic update features. Almost all anti-virus programs do, and many other security and office programs do. If this feature is available you should allow it.

Patching your system is essential to keep it up to date with new features and security issues. You should make sure all your important programs are kept up to date. Automatic updates are the easiest, and most painless way to keep up with changes.

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