Whitwick & District U3A - Computing tip May 2013
Stay up to date
This month the tip is very simple, and hopefully you will consider it to be blindingly obvious. It is very important to keep your computer up to date.
Windows®, and indeed other Microsoft® programs, have updates released once a month to fix security holes that have been discovered. These updates are issued in the USA on the second Tuesday of the month, which in practical terms means that we often don’t get them until the following day i.e. Wednesday. For most users whose PC / laptop is set to update automatically, you probably become aware of them when you shut down your computer and you get a message saying not to turn the power off as updates are being applied. You may also get a similar message when you switch on again the next time (this is quite normal).
Your anti-virus (you have got anti-virus haven’t you!) probably updates itself on a daily basis, but it may prompt you from time to time to do a scan; it is a good idea to do a scan every so often, say weekly or fortnightly. The other programs that might prompt you to do an update are Adobe Acrobat® and Flash®, your browser such as Chrome®, Firefox®, Opera® or Safari®, and quite possibly Java®. Unless you have a good reason otherwise (and most people don’t) then you should update.
Many browsers will either update themselves automatically or prompt you that there is an update available.
Chrome usually prompts you if there is a new version available, but you can check by selecting from the Menu (the three horizontal bars icon, top right), About Google Chrome. This will tell you the version number of chrome you are using , and also whether this is the latest version.
Firefox usually prompts you if there is a new version available, but you can check by selecting from Help, About Firefox. This will tell you the version number of Firefox you are using , and also inform you if there a later version available for download.
You can ensure automatic updates by using the menu Tools / Preferences and on the Advanced tab select Security and look at the Auto-update setting. Alternatively you can check for updates from the Help menu.
Safari update prompting comes as part of a general prompt by Apple for their software on your PC. You can check your current version by using the Cog icon and selecting About Safari. This can be compared with the latest available version at www.apple.com/uk/support/safari .
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