Windows Update is a service offered by Microsoft for Windows components. Let’s have a look at what type of updates Microsoft releases and how they benefit the users.

We have all seen the notification flag that indicates there are Windows Updates available for installation, but do you know how these updates actually affect your computer? With Microsoft regularly patching vulnerabilities, we believe it is critical to our clients’ security that they understand a little about these patches and how you can keep your systems protected.

New features updates:

.Net frameworks, internet explorer and other component features are released by Microsoft at regular intervals.
Benefit: These features improve the functionality of these web technology and add value to it.

Operating system updates:
Microsoft operating system developers continuously work for the enhancement of operating system and maximum benefit of hardware performance.

Benefit: Operating system performance and hardware acceleration improve the overall speed of the system.

Microsoft Updates are organized into several categories

  • Security Updates – These updates patch security vulnerabilities that could allow a system to become compromised. Security updates are classified as Critical, Important, Moderate, Low, or non-rated. Critical Security Updates are perhaps the most important updates to apply to your system. Ignoring these could leave your computer or server extremely vulnerable to hackers and malicious code.
  • Critical Updates – Critical Updates fix any major issue that is found in Microsoft products that could cause software errors or unexpected behavior. Together with Security Updates, they form the “High Priority” category of updates from Microsoft and should be set to download and install automatically.
  • Software Updates – Non-critical issues, such as extended features and minor bugs, are addressed using Software Updates.
  • Service Packs – Service Packs contain a rollup of all patches to date for a specific piece of software or operating system and usually have additional feature changes.

Each update has an associated Knowledge-Base (KB) number that gives details on the changes. Security updates will also have a Microsoft Security Bulletin (MS) number associated with them.

There are several methods for maintaining your Microsoft updates, depending on your technical expertise

Use Automatic Updates – All recent Microsoft Operating Systems have an Automatic Update feature built-in that allows you to define a time to download and install High Priority updates. Although simple to configure there are several drawbacks to using this method:

All High Priority updates get applied without any intervention. While this may sound like a good idea, updates can often conflict with existing software or may fail and cause other issues.
Other updates are not applied automatically, such as some software updates and service packs. We have found that it is common to see client computers missing several beneficial updates because no one took the time to install them manually.
Automatic Updates can be disabled by the end-user, and often are. Without a centralized method for managing updates, they can easily be disabled by an end-user and leave the entire network vulnerable. This is very common and is the cause of many out-of-date machines.

Use centralized update software – Server-based update applications such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) can resolve many of the shortfalls that come with having each computer responsible for updating itself. However, there are also some limitations:

Setup requires a high level of knowledge in order to be successful. From the initial installation to configuring rule sets, approval policies, and memberships, configuring a WSUS server can be very challenging for non-IT personnel. When it is configured, it is often done incorrectly, resulting in clients not receiving some or all patches.
The local storage requirements on the WSUS server can range from 15GB through to 70GB at present. The processing and storage overheads can easily overwhelm an older server.
Requires maintenance from experienced IT staff. Whether it is routine reboots on the server itself or checking reports to verify updates are being processed, maintaining a WSUS server can add complexity to your network and an extra workload to your staff.

To Keep your system and IT infrastructure secure then you must always keep it updated with all latest windows updates and security patches.

For more details on Microsoft Updates you can Visit Microsoft Update Site.

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