It is hugely important to maintain your PCs security level. Keeping your computer safe from viruses and other malware, and protecting your privacy and data from prying eyes; should all be a part of your ongoing computer maintenance programme. Not only that, but you’ll also need to have Windows itself. Finally you’ll need to have some kind of backup system in place just in case things go wrong.
Security is a big topic – one that could fill an entire Ultimate guide all of its own. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to stay on top of things. With the right tools you should be able to keep your computer and your data safe without really having to think too much about it. In this article, I’ll be explaining which areas you need to pay attention to and why.
Windows Update – Downloading and installing Windows Updates is an absolute must. Not only do these ensure your system files are up to date, but updates also address security vulnerabilities, both in Windows and other Microsoft programs such as Office. Fortunately, the process can be automated to the point of being (almost) effortless.
Go to Control Panel, Security Center and in XP click on the ‘Automatic Updates’ link at the bottom of the Window. In Vista, click on the Windows Update link on the left of the Security Center, then on Change Settings at the left of the Update window. The default setting is Updates are Automatic and downloaded daily (if available) at 3am.
If you don’t plan on having your computer running or being connected to the Internet at this time, then you have two choices. Either change the time to a more convenient one (I recommend, however, that you keep the checks on a daily basis), or just leave the settings as they are – Windows will automatically check for updates the next time your PC is running and online. This also applies if your computer is in Standby or Hibernate mode. Some updates do require user intervention – you may have to restart your computer or agree to a EULA. You can also opt to have the updates downloaded, but not installed without your say-so. You’ll need to set the time and frequency first, then click the second option from the top. Be warned, however, that you can only install updates this way if you are logged on with Administrator status.