Keeping computers on a network up to date

This article contains information to help you manage updates over a network and to help you find the right updates for each computer on a network. Every computer on a network needs updates that are designed for the version of Windows that it’s running. A computer running Windows Vista, for example, doesn’t need the same updates as a computer that is running this version of Windows.

Update computers on a home network

The easiest way to keep a home network up to date is to turn on Windows automatic updating on each computer. Use the recommended setting so that regardless of who uses the computer, Windows can check for updates and install them on a regular schedule. For more information, see Understanding Windows automatic updating. You can also choose to allow anyone who uses the computer to manually install optional updates and software. For more information, see Change how Windows installs or notifies you about updates.

Manage updates for computers on an office network

If you are a system administrator for a network, you can use these options to help keep all computers on the network up to date.

  • Make sure Windows automatic updating is turned on to the setting that you want all computers on the network to use. To manage the Windows automatic updating setting for each computer, use Group Policy settings for the Windows Update service. For more information about Group Policy, visit Microsoft TechNet and search for Group Policy.
  • To find updates for multiple versions of Windows, search the Windows Update Catalog online.
  • To learn more about how to update Windows operating systems and other Microsoft products that are running inside your corporate firewall, go to the Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) website. This service helps administrators target systems for update deployment, define user interactions with updates, schedule the frequency and priority of updates, and more.
  • To learn how to update Microsoft Office, see Update Microsoft Office.


How to Manage Microsoft Updates

Ever feel overwhelmed with the number of updates you always seem to need for your Windows operating system? There may be a great number of downloads that your computer is set to automatically download and not all of them are necessary. Changing the settings of your computer so that you can select which downloads you want can really decrease the number of updates you will need, and reduce unnecessary space being taken up on your hard drive. It can also reduce the time it takes to download and process updates on your computer making it less frustrating. This may sound nice, but how can you tell which downloads are really necessary or not?

Follow these simple steps to streamline your Windows Updates experience.


Getting the Updates you Need

Windows Update is an application that helps Windows users to manage their updates. It is part of the Windows Control Panel, and to access it on Vista and 7

Click Start

> Control Panel

> System and Maintenance

> Windows Update.

From here you can see whether your computer needs any updates, turn on or off automatic update downloads, and view installed updates. Windows gives you 4 options for setting up automatic updates.

  • Install Updates Automatically
  • Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
  • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
  • Never Check for Updates

The default option for Windows is the first, and this is the no-hassle option that is best for most Windows Vista and 7 users, but selecting one of the other options you can better control the updates that are downloaded to your computer. The last option is never recommended to use. This could serious compromise your computer’s functioning and safety.

How to Select an Update

When you choose one of the middle options from Windows Update you will receive notification from Windows when updates are available. It will also give you information about whether these updates are required are not to help you choose the updates that you need, versus ones that you may not. In general updates will fall into either one of two categories:

1. Important/Urgent: These updates should always be selected and downloaded. They are required in order to make existing programs run efficiently and to protect them from viruses and spyware.

2. Optional: These updates are not always required and do not necessarily affect the functioning of the programs they are for. The best tip for selecting these updates is only to choose those that are for programs that you actually use. You can also do a quick search online to find out whether these updates will really make a difference or not. Remember though to never download these updates from any other source than through Windows Update to protect your PC.

Changing the settings of Windows Update on your PC can really reduce the number of unnecessary updates you download to your computer and can make the process of keeping your PC up-to-date less frustrating and hassle-free!


Why is it important for you to install Windows and Anti-Virus updates?

Most Windows updates include security and compatibility updates. The security updates close various ports in Windows that if open could allow a hacker to access the information on the computers. Compatibility updates allow Windows to work smoothly with other programs causing less of a chance there will be errors they also include information and drivers for various hardware components like printers. If Windows is not updated on a regular basis the computers are left vulnerable to hacking attempts and program and hardware compatibility issues.

Anti-Virus updates include various virus definitions that help the program to identify and remove or block numerous types of malware attacks. There are literally hundreds of new and updated viruses and malware created every month. In order for an anti-virus program to be effective it has to know what to look for to find the malicious programs which is what the updates are for. If anti-virus is not updated computers are left vulnerable to malicious programs like key loggers, root-kits, and Trojan horses. Key loggers are small programs installed on a computer by hackers looking to steal credit card and login information. The program logs all the keystrokes that are made on the computer and the hacker uses that information to gain access to personal accounts(Bank accounts, credit card accounts, etc). So it is very important for your safety and the safety of your patrons to keep anti-virus software updated to avoid these types of attacks.