Staying Updated

Staying Updated

March 18th, 2013 by Christopher C. Wright

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Most software installed today includes auto-update features to install new improvements or features over time. Unfortunately, not all programs that auto-update are desired, and some specific updates aren’t wanted either. With so many different products popping up every time we turn on our computers, how can we tell which are the updates we want, and which we don’t?

Overall there are two major pieces of software that should be updated regularly and frequently: your operating system and antivirus. Microsoft releases updates for its Windows operating system on a monthly cycle, though support for older operating systems like Windows XP is quickly drawing to a close. Other companies like Apple and those releasing Linux distributions also regularly release system updates to provide new features, fix reported bugs, and address other issues that may have come up. Almost every operating system has a way to enable automatic or scheduled updates, and we always encourage our friends and clients to have an experienced technician configure their updates to make sure they are getting the best possible protection.

Secondly every major antivirus suite, as discussed in a previous blog entry, has features built-in to allow for automatic updates. These updates are usually increased or heightened detection routines that allow the program to sweep your computer of viruses and other malicious software more efficiently and effectively, against even the latest threats. It is very important to check your antivirus program at least monthly to ensure it is checking for and installing the latest available updates.

There are other programs that try to update themselves of course, often popping up alerts asking for permission to update. The simplest advice we give about what programs are safe to upgrade is that if you recognize the program in question, go ahead and update it — your office program, Java, various Adobe products and the like, these are very likely safe to update. If you don’t recognize a program or company name, searching the internet is a good start. If you are still unsure, or if your search describes malicious software, it is best to contact your system administrator or resident IT guy for assistance.

MSMB Networks — Your IT Professionals!

Christopher C. Wright is the CTO of MSMB Networks, focusing on network and system administration, upgrade planning, disaster recovery, and IT budget analysis in Petaluma and all over Sonoma and Marin Counties. With more than fifteen years of hands-on experience, he is committed to educating and protecting his clients, ensuring they receive the best individualized support possible. Email him at

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