Updating Your Operating System with Security Patches

Installing an antivirus program and a firewall help to keep your PC secure however, hackers can still find their way into your PC if there are vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are holes that develop in your PC's operating system.

Creation of an operating system such as Windows requires the work of many different types of computer programmers. Once the operating system is on the market, vulnerabilities are discovered in the system and security patches are required to seal them.

It is important to keep your security patches updated to prevent hackers from invading your PC with worms and other malware that exploits operating system vulnerabilities.

How to Update Windows Security Patches

The best way to update Windows security patches is to configure your PC to automatically connect with the latest security patch updates. When new updates come out, your operating system will automatically notify you and install the updates.

Assuming your operating system is Windows XP:

Manual Updates

Click on the Start Menu and then point your cursor to All Programs. On the pop-up menu click on Windows Updates. Under Windows Updates Welcome window you will see two options which are Express and Custom.

  • Express: Express is the recommended option to receive high-priority updates. Custom will also provide you with high-priority updates as well as optional updates for other programs such as drivers and software updates.

Express is the recommended option unless you have a reason for updating drivers and software. When you choose Express, an icon will appear that says Install Updates. Simply click the icon to install high-priority updates.

  • Custom: If you click on Custom, this feature will provide you with a list of options so you can choose which high-priority updates you would like to install, as well as review any software and hardware updates. Once you have selected all of the updates you want to install, click Review and Install Updates. You will be presented with a list for your review and then simply click Install Updates.

When the dialog box opens it may ask you to accept any license agreements, so you will need to do so in order to install the updates. Once everything is installed you will be prompted to restart your computer. Make sure when choosing the Custom option that you repeat this process. Installing software updates sometimes means an entire new set of updates will need to be installed.

Automatic Updates

To configure your operating system for automatic updates, simply select Control Panel from the Start Menu and then click on Performance and Maintenance. Proceed to click on System and then on the Automatic Updates tab. Place a check in the box next to "Keep My Computer Up to Date," click "Apply" and then OK. Your operating system will now notify you of updates by displaying an icon in the lower right hand portion of the screen.

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When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser