How do I protect my Windows computer from vulnerabilities?
Use Windows Update to ensure you are running the latest Service Pack and all Critical Updates.
- Open Internet Explorer. Windows Update works only with Windows Internet Explorer.
- Go to windowsupdate.microsoft.com. Wait for the page to load.
- Then click Scan for updates. Wait for the scan to finish.
- Click on Critical Updates and Service Packs, if the option is highlighted. The updates in this category are important updates for Microsoft Windows and other Windows-related programs (Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger, Outlook Express). If an update is already selected for installation, you will see a Remove button. You can prevent it from being installed by clicking the Remove button. Likewise, if an update is not set to be installed, you will see Add next to it. Click Add to install the update.
- Repeat the previous step for the remaining categories on the left-hand frame. Depending on your version of Windows, these categories may vary. However, the last category should always be Driver Updates. These are updates to the software that controls the hardware devices on your computer, such as the printer, video card, and mouse.
- Once you have selected all the updates you want to install, go to Review and install updates to make a final review of the selected updates and install them.
- Click Install Now to start the installation. If there are any conflicts you will be notified now (for example, certain updates need to be installed by themselves).
- You will need to accept the Microsoft License Agreement to continue.
- Wait for the updates to download and install. When they are done you will be prompted to restart your computer.
- It is a good idea to repeat the process until you are sure there aren't any more critical updates. Often, installing a major update like a Service Pack makes a whole new set of important updates available.
Using automatic updates
If you are running Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP, you should make use of the automatic updating feature instead of than having to run Windows Update manually ever time a new patch is released.
Note: Older versions of Windows such as 98, 98SE, ME, or NT cannot use the automatic updates services.
If you are using a University computer, use the York University Software Updates Service by following these directions.
- Update your system to the latest Service Pack following the Windows Update directions above.
- Click here and select the appropriate Preset Registry Settings. Save the .reg file. If you are using Firefox, you may need to delete .txt extension from the .reg file name. Open the .reg file. The computer will warn you if you really want to apply the registry settings - select OK, since this is the settings file which will tell your computer to use the Software Updates Service. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
If you are using your own personal computer, follow these instructions.
- Click the Start button and then click Control Panel.
- Click Performance and Maintenance.Note - If the Performance and Maintenance category isn't visible, click Switch to Category/Classic View on the upper left of the window.
- Click System to open the System Properties dialog box.
- On the Automatic Updates tab, checkmark Keep my computer up to date. Choose a setting. We strongly recommend choosing "Download the updates automatically and notify me when they are ready to be installed."
- Apply the changes and click OK.After you've set up Automatic Updates, you will see a notification balloon in the lower right portion of the screen (task bar) whenever new updates become available. Click the notification balloon to review and install the downloads.