Windows Updates? Why bother?

So many people I know are cynical about Microsoft’s ‘Windows Updates’ .. that is, if they even know it exists.  Valiant attempts by Microsoft to make these updates deploy automatically (to your internet-connected PC) have hit some snags – the installations don’t always work and sometimes they can even break the functionality of corporate applications.  To ease the headache for system administrators, Microsoft instituted ‘Patch Tuesday’ .. being the 2nd Tuesday of every month when all the newest, tested updates would be sent out.  This lets systems administrators know when they will be hit and gives them a chance to test the latest updates in a lab against their corporate software programs, before releasing them into the bigger corporate network.

Fine.  But what does that mean for MY computer?  I’ve only got 1  .. or 2 .. or 5 .. or 20.

In reality, it means that you are bugged with messages about automatic updates if they fail to install, or want to install when you want your computer to shut down, and you don’t know what to do about them, how to fix them or whether they are even important .. I mean, your computer is working, isn’t it?

Sorry guys but here comes the scary part … EXPLOIT WEDNESDAY.  Yup, that lovely term is what hackers use to describe the day AFTER Patch Tuesday.  It’s like Christmas for them, as they scour the internet for PCs that have not successfully applied the latest updates from Microsoft.  And the truth about the latest updates is that they are mainly security updates and are more often being released as they are developed and not saved for Patch Tuesday.  Why?  Cause they are important.  Too important to wait a whole month to roll out.

Now, I’m not going to get into a debate that Microsoft should develop secure software in the first place.  Suffice to say that if you knew what it took to build an operating system from the ground up, including all of the third-party stuff that it had to play nicely with that was beyond your control … you’d understand if a few issues went undetected during your testing.  Remember, no-one is capable of testing software like the audience that actually uses it .. the people that install 20+ different applications onto it and drivers for a dozen different printers and gadgets … all of which are out of your control  but apparently you should have tested.  Oooh, ok, guess I did get into that debate (hides and waits for the opponents).

Meanwhile, back on the subject, I know that updates are not the most glamorous of things are are definately not the most alarming or urgent.  Not when you have so much more other important stuff that needs to be done.  They fall right into the slot with ‘testing your backups’ 🙂

I just dont want to see you hit with a computer problem that takes you out of action and could have been avoided if your updates were, well, up to date.

If you pay someone to look after your computers, make sure they’re doing your ‘patch management’.  More cost, I know … but if they are providing any sort of decent, pro-active management of your systems, this should be included in their fee anyway .. it’s just that important.


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