We’re asked all time, both by existing clients and during dialog while onboarding new prospects to our AllConnected IT Support Services. ‘What exactly is the point of running Windows updates, especially when my workstation or server is running fine?’
We’ll cover why updates are so important, discuss a couple ways you can make sure they are always done as well as how we test and prevent “bad updates”.
No software is flawless. The more complex the software, the more often there will be flaws and vulnerabilities. Operating systems are very complex, often boasting more than 50 million lines of code. Vulnerabilities can be found by hackers, who then exploit the vulnerability and cause trouble for all of us. A good software developer will release patches and security fixes through the form of updates to fix any known issues; this is the same case with Microsoft and their Windows updates.
Unfortunately, by fixing a vulnerability, they point it out. A hacker can look at the contents of the updates, figure out the security issue that’s being fixed, and then cause havoc on devices that haven’t been updated. Windows Updates can also supply hardware drivers and updates and other general fixes to the operating system to keep your device running smoothly. Our technicians have noted that a workstation that stays up to date with Windows Updates (vs. a workstation that has never received updates) has significantly fewer issues.
Setting up automatic updates is easy in Windows 7:
- On your Start Menu, click Control Panel.
- Double click Windows Update.
- Click Change Settings on the left.
- Select Install Updates Automatically from the Important Updates dropdown list.
- You can set the frequency and time the updates run. It’s best to have them run at night when nobody is using the workstation.
While automatic updates will ensure that your computer is running the latest security patches, it isn’t fail proof. While rare, sometimes an update could cause issues. For mission critical servers and workstations in a production enviroment we recommend you take extra measures to prevent this from happening by white-listing patches. Our Network Operations Center (NOC) tests the updates when they come out before installing them, this means security patches that are deemed safe get installed on your system by our IT professionals automatically. If you have any questions, we’re glad to help, call our Help Desk at 805.526.1455.