Windows Patch Tuesday

patch-tuesday-graphic-from-verismicblog.comYou may already know that Microsoft issues a number of security updates on ‘Patch Tuesday’, which usually occurs on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. For most people, you should set automatic updates so your computer will update itself without you having to do anything (or anything much). But please be aware that automatic Windows Updates are applied in the middle of the night unless you change the schedule. So the simple thing to do is leave your computer running overnight at least once a week. The other suggestion I have is to disable both ‘sleep’ mode and the advanced setting under ‘Power Options’ so the hard disk never spins down on your Windows computer. Please read this article for the whys and hows.

In addition, you should take every opportunity to make sure any software you’ve added to your Windows computer is kept up-to-date – at least once a month. Here’s a short list of items you should be sure to check monthly:

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  1. WebBrowserLogosany alternative web browser (e.g., Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera)
  2. any helper program, such as Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash Player, or Java

The easiest way to do this routine maintenance is to open the program and check for a ‘check for updates’ menu item. In the case of alternative web browsers, the update feature is usually buried in the About… page under Settings. In the case of Adobe products, you can also visit www.adobe.com and www.java.com and install the latest program, it’ll overwrite whatever you have. As an aside, most folks don’t need to have Java installed, I’d suggest you uninstall it (click Start, type Uninstall a program and hit the enter key, then click on the Java entry and click the Uninstall link near the top of the window). And under no circumstances should you click any link in any web page (other than www.adobe.com or www.java.com) that says your program is out-of-date, there are a lot of fakes out there!

windows-power-options-hard-disk-screenshotIf you prefer not to leave things as automatic as possible, then you’ll need to be more vigilant about applying the updates yourself. But seriously, do you need the headache? I’ll tell you that as a computer professional, I have most of my Windows PCs set for automatic updates, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been burned over the last 20 years, and those few times were more than a decade ago. And don’t forget to disable sleep and don’t let the hard disk power down (set it to 0 to disable).

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Chris why is office so unstable the store has installed for me twice and it is still failing and changing my files to read only which is a pain

    • Hmm, I’ve found MS Office 2010 to be quite stable. When you say ‘the store has installed for me twice’ what store are you talking about?

      I should note that when you open a MS Office document that someone sent you via email or by sneaker-net, the default opening format is read-only – for protection. There’s a handy yellow button at the top to open in edit mode. You can change this default behavior by going (in each Office program) to Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Protected View > and uncheck the checkboxes, then click OK.

      msoffice-trust-center-protected-view-screenshot

  2. Chris the store is the Microsoft store tech support I receive a message that a command couldn’t be sent to the app of word or excel after that files I have created go into read only mode which is a pain I uninstalled office suite a couple of times and downloaded from my subs at the Microsoft site to no avail so I had them delete and reinstall but it still fails

    • Ok, I think I understand you are taking your computer into a Microsoft Store and having them uninstall and reinstall Office for you. And I get that the files are your own creations. Those clues lead me to believe there’s a problem with either an add-in to Microsoft Office you might be using, or your operating system, Microsoft Windows (which controls the permissions your user account has over files and folders). Of course the folks at the Microsoft Store aren’t really tech support folks, they are for the most part sales-people. I’m going to send you some diagnostic instructions via email to see if we can narrow down the problem.

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