Thursday, May 15, 2008

Windows XP SP2 Critical (Security) Updates: Don't Forget to Install Them

Microsoft Security UpdateIf you are not planning to upgrade to Windows XP SP3, then do not forget that you still need to install the other Critical and High-priority Updates as they become available.

On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft Windows Update provides patches for your operating system and applications. The available downloads typically include:
  • Patches for newly-found security vulnerabilities
  • Bug fixes
  • A malware removal tool
  • Application upgrades
While the Automatic Updates feature should be turned on, do not let it install anything without your approval. Use the Automatic Updates icon as a notification to launch Windows Update. To have the best control over what is installed; select the Custom update option.

A list of available updates is generated based on a hardware and software scan of your computer. Some of these are critical or high-priority updates, while others are optional or unwanted. I select the appropriate updates, press Install, and hope for the best. (I had serious installation problems roughly once or twice a year).

This month, you get a new screen with two Windows XP SP2 update options:
  • Download and install Windows XP SP3
  • Review of other updates
If you follow my advice and select the second option, the list of available updates will be displayed. Your system will be more secure once you install the necessary updates, and you should install them without delay.

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