During the course of our day to day interaction with customers we sometimes hear the comment “I don’t install Windows updates because they slow down my computer” or “They take up space on my PC”. We thought it may be useful to set the record straight and debunk some myths about Windows updates.
Windows updates are released regularly for currently supported versions of the operating system. If you are working on a Windows 7 PC (or God forbid, anything older) then the short version of our advice is, you shouldn’t be. Windows 7 is ‘End of Life’ and no longer supported – this means that it is increasingly vulnerable to attack. When an update is released, it will be in a category which includes Critical, Security, Important, Optional or Feature. The Security updates include patches that fix issues that can be exploited by malware or hackers. Failing to install a Security or Critical update is an incredibly risky option because you are basically leaving the front door open.
The Windows operating system contains errors, outdated software, compatibility issues, and security holes. When one of these problems comes to light, a patch or fix is written into the code and then released as an update. Even if you are running antivirus or Internet security software, failing to install updates makes your system more vulnerable. By releasing the update, anyone who wasn’t aware of the vulnerability before, is aware of it now which increases the risk further.
According to an emailed statement from Microsoft, Windows updates ensure that your computer is continuously kept up to date with new innovations and security patches. I is the optimum way to ensure users are running the best version of Windows possible. Doing this will protect users against data loss and information theft, among countless other potential problems.
Some security patches install automatically. On, what used to be called “Patch Tuesday” (which has now been switched to Patch Thursday on some versions of the OS) security patches are released to be automatically install by your Operating System. On the second Tuesday/Thursday of every month, Microsoft rolls out a new cumulative update which is a bundle of all the most recent fixes. These are substantial updates, and usually require a restart which will complete the update process.
You may find that not installing Windows updates invalidates your Cyber Insurance. It is worth checking your policy as many policies include a requirement to keep your operating system up to date, have antivirus software installed and the use of a hardware firewall.
Installing Windows updates can take a little while to complete and it can be irritating waiting for the installation to complete. However, they are an essential part of using your PC. It is important that you reboot your computer weekly as any updates that need a restart to complete will be installed. You should also shut your computer down at least once a week as this will reset all of the applications that are running and run a clean start up for you to work on. It is far better to be irritated by the inconvenience of restarting your PC than dealing with malware and ransomware. The next time someone tells you that Windows updates slows down their PC, do them a favour and advise them to make their computer safe.