I have been fixing computers ever since I was a little kid. I learned out of necessity because I would accidentally break my parent’s computer, and subsequently have to fix it before they found out.
When I started fixing computers professionally, most of the problems that I would fix were completely preventable. One way to avoid problems with your computer is to keep your software up-to-date.
Now, don’t lie, there have been times, probably many, where you were using your computer and saw Windows Updates, or Mac’s Software Updater pop up, and you thought to yourself, “This is stupid, useless, and annoying,” and then you promptly clicked the “X” in the corner and resumed what you were doing.
That’s bad! Don’t do that.
Software updates fix flaws with your system. Some of these flaws make your system run slower because of mismanaged resources, some make your computer crash, and some allow viruses to take hold of your computer.
Many viruses take advantage of vulnerabilities in software. If those vulnerabilities are eliminated by an update, then the virus cannot take hold and ruin your computer.
That is why it is critically important that you keep all of your software up-to-date.
If you must be lazy about this, then please, at the very least, run the updates on your operating system (Windows, or Mac OS), and your web browser (Internet Explorer, Fire Fox, Safari, or Chrome), as these are the most important and vulnerable pieces of software on your computer.
If you are too busy when the notification pops up, do it later. But make sure you actually do it.
Now, with that said, if you run Windows Updates, and you see that you need to install an update called a “Service Pack” (especially Service Pack 2), STOP!
At this point you need to make sure that your computer is virus, malware, and spyware free (I will be discussing virus, malware, and spyware in future posts). If you install a Service Pack on a contaminated computer, you will probably get a bad installation and your computer will not work very well at all. If you are uncertain about the health of your computer, hire a professional to make sure your computer is running properly.
Also, back up regularly (I will be writing a lot about backing up in future posts). If you have your data backed up, then you have nothing to worry about, because resorting your computers software is fairly easy. Recovering data is rather difficult.
So, keep your computer up-to-date, and as my Mother always said, “Practice safe computing.”