Digital Minute #001: Keep Your Computer Up-to-Date

In this Digital Minute®, Your Tech Coach gives you a quick shot of Practical Help and covers the basics for keeping your computer (Mac and PC) up-to-date to help prevent computer problems from turning your computer into an expensive paperweight.

This Digital Minute® is part of our video series, Practical Help for Your Digital Life® (PHYDL). In this series, Your Tech Coach gives you practical and helpful tips, hints and advice on how to get the most out of the consumer technology you already own. Geek-free help for everyone on the most common problems we all have using our computers, tablets, smartphones, smart appliances, digital devices, online services, social networking and more. Let Your Tech Coach help you get your technology working for you, not the other way around!

For a handy printable tip sheet, please click this link:  DET #001_computer_safe (Adobe PDF)

Mac Users:

  1. Check for Software Updates once a month, click the Apple logo in the top-left corner and choose ‘Software Updates’ – apply everything that is identified – recent Macs will open the App Store, and you should check there for other updates as well. Older Macs will need to separately check the App Store for updates to other programs you purchased .
  2. If you have Microsoft Office for Mac installed, run any Office program, click Help, then ‘Check for Updates’ and apply any that are identified. You may need to do this more than once, shut down the Office program, rinse and repeat until you are notified that there are no updates available.

PC Users:

  1. Make sure you have a good computer security suite, we recommend Norton Internet Security Suite. Make sure you have an active subscription and keep the 5863098_MicrosoftUpdate_Fprogram updated – good ones like Norton will do this automatically.
  2. Make sure you’ve upgraded from Windows Update to Microsoft Update – this will keep all your Microsoft applications up-to-date. Either
  3. turn on ‘Automatic Updates’ or run Microsoft Update at least once a month.

Both Mac and PC Users:

  1. Check for updates on all your installed applications. Especially helper programs like Adobe Reader & Flash Player, and Sun Java.Adobe_Flash_Player_v10_icon JavaIcon
  2. Remember my 80% rule (restarting fixes 80% of all computer problems) and restart your computer every few days or anytime that it isn’t working quite right.
  3. Practice Safe Computing always (for anyone touching the keyboard): Avoid opening file attachments or clicking links in emails, avoid installing any programs you don’t absolutely need, avoid toolbars and search helpers like the plague, same for file-sharing programs, don’t automatically click on pop-ups, read them and try to discover where they came from before you take action. A quick internet search, or ask a question on our website if you’re not sure what to do. Stay away from shady websites and don’t take any ‘free’ offers. You can install Adobe Flash and Reader, but don’t accept any add-on freebies from them. Don’t accept candy from strangers. Keep what programs you have installed up-to-date by doing system maintenance – checking for updates and applying them. Also see this posting for more tips.

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