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Condoms for Your PC - Microsoft Patches!

THEY'RE OUT TO GET US - We've all heard tales of someone losing files, having identities stolen, spending hours and hours to clean up a PC mess from malware (be it a virus, worm, a bit of spyware, or a rootkit intrusion. We all have heard criticism of Microsoft operating systems for "allowing" such nasty stuff to happen to PCs which run the Windows operating system. We see reports of updates, patches, releases, upgrades, or whatever the changes are called that are needed to correct the methods by which these "nasties" are distributed. Some people are safe from problems - but they don't use computers. For the rest of us, problems are something we face each time we turn on a PC. MICROSOFT TO THE RESCUE - Put into your calendar the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

That is the normal day on which Microsoft releases to the world whatever critical patches it determines that we need. (Of course, on occasion, Microsoft releases patches on other days - particularly if the problem to be fixed is deemed to be sufficiently troublesome. IT'S AVAILABLE, SO NOW WHAT - Basically, you want to get the patches installed on your PC. "Not so fast," you may say - particularly if you are the one responsible for other PCs. You will want some assurance that the patches which are intended to protect your PC will not cause some program to malfunction.

You may wish to install the patches on a test PC before you unleash them to your public. For most of you, however, the time it takes to perform such tests is not worth the added risk to which you put your PC while you wait to complete the tests. My advice is to install the patches and take the extra protection from potential shutdowns, total malfunctions, and possible loss of privacy for the risk that an application program may temporarily stop working. SIMPLE IS GOOD - From within the Internet Explorer under Tools/Windows Update, you can choose to have critical patches from Microsoft automatically downloaded and installed at a time and day of the week of your choice. You can also choose to check daily at a particular time. You may choose to select Tuesday (or Wednesday in case you wanted Tuesday but were not sure of the time of day that the patches might be available). That should work for most patches because they will come on a Tuesday and will be available at any time on Wednesday. I prefer to check every day. If there are no patches, the test is fast. If there are patches, I get them that much sooner.

That is simple and adds, I believe, the greatest level of operating system safety and stability. YOU CHOOSE - You may do the patches automatically every day or one day per week. You may do the patches manually. Just choose to do the patches as soon as possible and practical. This article contains suggestions for the use of utility programs under the Windows operating system. They are based on years of use, but they may not be the right suggestions for you and your PC environment. Before you follow any technical suggestion, be sure that you have a current (and tested) backup of all system and data files and that you can restore the system if necessary. You are welcome to contact me if you encounter a problem, but I assume no responsibility for your actions and/or use of the information provided and disclaim any legal responsibility for any negative results of such actions. Copyright 2006 by Tim Flynt. All rights reserved.

Tim Flynt has spent over 25 years dedicated to efficient application and utility systems. Experienced in higher education, entertainment, and software development organizations. Current interest in "PC Maintenance Management." http://AcceleratedOffice.com .


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