The Remote Help Expert
Page created 6/17/09
To Update or Not to Update, That is the Question

Normally I wouldn’t even write about this subject because it almost seems like a redundancy to mention it, but recently
came across some misconceptions that urged me to help set the record straight.

Software updates, what are they? what are they for? should they be installed? Generally speaking, the main computer
software updates are its operating system updates. Since I don’t work with Macs, this means Windows updates.
These updates can have 3 goals: improved stability, improved security, improved performance.

Specifically on security, the cycle goes like this: some not-so-well-intentioned fellow(s) looks for and finds a
vulnerability in a current Windows operating system. That means a security hole which if successfully exploited, allows
the bad guy to gain access to your computer data and maybe even gain control over it. Not good. Microsoft gets wind
of the vulnerability, develops a “patch” to fix it, tests it, releases it through Windows update, it gets applied broadly, no
more security hole. The cycle repeats over and over in an endless race over the zero-day exploit. The term derives
from the age of the exploit. When Microsoft becomes aware of a security hole, there is a race to close it before more
attackers discover it or the vulnerability becomes public. A “zero day” attack occurs on or before the first or “zeroth”
day of vendor awareness, meaning Microsoft has not had any opportunity to disseminate a security fix to users of the

Stability and performance follow a less hectic path, but they are nonetheless also upgrades.

Other non-operating system software vendors also provide updates for their software with the same goals.

Now, some people seem to be against installing updates, partially due to bad past experiences, i.e. after installing an
update, something went wrong and the computer had a new problem. Does it happen? yes. Have some updates been
more damaging than beneficial? yes. Does that mean one should just not update? NO. In the overall grand scheme of
things, updates will always be more beneficial than harmful.

Keep your computer up-to-date with the latest updates from Microsoft and any other applicable software vendors. It is
an essential step to keeping your computer secure and healthy.

Contact me if you need help on the subject.                                                                                        Index listing more articles!
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