Q: What are Microsoft windows updates? My system runs fine. I don't need to install the upgrades, do I?
A: You should keep your system up to date with all the recommended Microsoft updates. After Microsoft releases software, problems are uncovered and a solution is developed. The solution to the problem is released to the public as an update. Some of the discovered problems are serious flaws that can allow hackers access to your computer.
Hackers might even get ideas for attacks from the upgrades that are released by Microsoft. They know that not everyone is doing the upgrades and there is an opportunity to mess up your computer. Do you remember the blaster worm from last summer? Microsoft released an update to patch a security hole in Windows a few months before the attack. If you had a properly configured firewall or had installed the Microsoft upgrade, your system was safe. The attack proved that too many people had overlooked their system upgrades. My computer uses Windows 98. I don't need any updates. Do I? Even though the attack last year didn't affect Windows 98 systems, you should always keep your system up to date. Microsoft announced that it was going to stop support of Windows 98 last summer but due to customer feedback, support was extended. Some customers have major investments in software. Some software costs more than the computer itself. Telling a customer to buy new software to resolve a problem is unacceptable. It is almost like telling a person to buy a new car to fix a problem. A few of my customers have old computers that execute programs that are essential to their businesses. The programs are so old that they won't execute on a new computer but the programs satisfy the customers needs. New versions of the programs aren't necessarily better. Why should the customer be forced into upgrading? "If it aint broke, don't fix it." If you use Microsoft Office, there are also updates available for it. There have been a few openings discovered that hackers could exploit to gain control of your system. Don't forget to check the Microsoft website for updates to other products besides Windows. Here is a reality check. You can't buy a computer and forget to do the maintenance. If you don't have a lot of computer experience, there is help available. One of the updates that Microsoft released will notify you of new updates, it isn't really that much of a chore to maintain Windows on your computer. Computer experts continuously warn of new ways to exploit security flaws in your system. Take an active role in protecting your computer and keep your system current with Microsoft updates.