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Automatic System Updates


I ran into a friend the other day who was having issues with her laptop.  The first question I asked was “When did you last update your computer?”  The response … “Am I supposed to?”  I know system updates are not something we normally think about, but these updates are imperative to keep your computers operating system current and more importantly, fix possible security flaws.  Running an un-patched system on your network can result in damage or theft of your data.

Unless your small business has a server and updates are pushed to your systems, your computers should be set to auto update directly from Microsoft or Apple.   Unfortunately this setting can be inadvertently turned off or sometimes never turned on.  The easiest way to protect yourself, network and data is by enabling auto-update on your systems.  I have provided instructions on how to do this for both Windows and Mac systems.

Windows XP – Windows 7.  Click the Start button then All Programs and then click Windows Update.  At this point a dialog box will be displayed. This dialog box will be slightly different depending on your version of Windows. Select the option “Change Settings”. You can now change the time your system will download and install updates.  I suggest selecting “Install updates automatically” under the Important updates section.

Apple Mac OS X – Click the Apple icon then click System Preferences and then select Software Update Pane.  You can then choose when the system will download and install the updates.

Keep in mind, if you configure updates to run in the middle of the night, be sure the computer is on during this time. Sometimes scheduling updates during the day, maybe during lunch, may be a better option.

There will be times when you will have a system which has automatic updates turned off.  Usually this is because rebooting the system without warning would be disruptive.  In this case, checking and manually installing updates is highly recommended.

If you are unsure of your system is current, please speak to your IT support member to ensure all your systems are kept up to date.

Categories: Small Business IT

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