Windows Updates

Windows Updates

Many times customers ask me about Windows Updates and whether they should install them.  In this article I’ll describe exactly what they are, what they will do for your PC, and why they are important.

What Are These Updates?

Updates fall into four general categories:

  • Fixing security issues that make your PC vulnerable to malicious attacks
  • Improving the reliability and performance of your PC
  • Providing additional features and upgrades to Windows
  • Installing improved drivers for devices such as printers, scanners, and other hardware

There are two major sources of updates for Windows.  If you are using only Windows and no other Microsoft products you should be using the Windows Update service.  If you have other Microsoft products such as Office, you should be using the Microsoft Update service which provides updates for both the operating system and any other Microsoft products.

I recommend setting up an automatic update process so you don’t have to bother with remembering to handle this.  You can visit the following website for detailed instructions:

Windows XP –

Windows Vista –

You can also manually use these update services by visiting the Microsoft website with Internet Explorer.

On that page you can choose which kind of service to use and also set up when to automatically update.

The updates fall into the following three categories:

  • Important
  • Recommended
  • Optional

For a complete description of these levels you can visit this website:

Why Are Updates Important?

When vulnerabilities in the operating system are discovered, Microsoft provides a patch that will plug the security openings to prevent malicious software from exploiting them.  Once the update patch has been installed, the PC is protected against that problem.  If you do not install the update, your computer remains in danger.  This would be similar to having a faulty lock on the back door of your house and hoping that no one tries to open it.

Other updates can improve the performance of the computer or fix software bugs that might have been annoying you.

The best part of this is that these services are provided completely free from Microsoft.


My answer to the question of installing those Windows updates is a resounding YES.  After all, you don’t want to leave that back door unlocked.

Next week I’ll be talking about backing up your important data and ways to plan for recovering when disaster might strike your computer.

About Dick Buchanan

I started working with computers some 25 years ago when my wife, Carol, and I purchased our first PC which was a Kaypro IV CP/M machine. This lead to studying computer science at Seattle Pacific University and becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). During this time I have worked for The Boeing Company, IBM Global Services, and Microsoft. I currently own and operate a local computing services company called Byte Savvy located in Kalispell, MT
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