Updating your software

One way to help keep your computing environment safe is to promptly install software updates, also known as fixes, patches, service packs, and security rollup packages. Software updates fix vulnerabilities in software that contains a feature that someone uses for malicious purposes, or they introduce additional security features. It is recommended that you immediately install updates as they become available.

Updating operating systems

It is recommended that you use the Microsoft Software Update Services to update all Microsoft operating systems. Software Update Services (SUS) helps you collect, approve, and distribute critical operating system patches to resolve known security vulnerabilities and stability issues. By using Software Update Services, you can do the following:

  • Download the latest patches to the server.
  • Test the patches in your environment.
  • Select patches that you want to deploy.
  • Install selected patches on specified computers.

It is recommended that you install critical updates and service packs immediately.

Required actions before using Software Update Services

  1. Install the latest server component, called Software Update Services, on your server, available at the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/windowsupdate/sus/).
  2. Configure client computers, and then install the client component, called Automatic Updates, at the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/windowsupdate/sus/).
    Automatic Updates can be used on computers running Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows 2000 Advanced Server Service Pack 2 or later.
    Automatic Updates does not need to be installed on computers running Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 or Windows XP Service Pack 1 or later, or a member of the Windows Server 2003 family because those operating systems have a Software Update Services-compatible version of Automatic Updates.

Note

  • Users running Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 need to visit the Windows Update site or the Microsoft Security Web site and check periodically for patches that need to be installed.

For more information about deploying Software Update Services, see the white paper entitled "Software Update Services Deployment" at the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/windowsupdate/sus/).

Updating server applications

Check for updates for any applications that you use on the server. For all Microsoft products, see the Microsoft Download Center at the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/).

If you run other software, check the product-specific Web site to see if the manufacturer supports automatic updates of the application.

Updating Microsoft Office

Files created by some Microsoft Office applications might be used to transmit viruses and other malicious programs. To help prevent this from happening, keep Office applications on client computers up to date.

To download the Outlook E-mail Security Update, which guards against viruses that travel in executable or high-risk attachments and worm attacks that replicate through Outlook, see the Microsoft Web site (http://office.microsoft.com/ProductUpdates/).

To select individual updates from the Office Download Center, see the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/office/downloads/).

To have the Office Update site check your system automatically, see the Microsoft Web site (http://office.microsoft.com/ProductUpdates/).

Updating other applications in the network

Software interactions are complex. Upgrading or adding new software to your system can cause unintended consequences for other programs. To help keep your computers on the local network secure and reliable, do the following:

  • Check for updates for any applications that you use. If you run other software, check the product-specific Web site to see if the manufacturer supports automatic updates of the application.
    For all Microsoft products, check the Microsoft Download Center at the Microsoft Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/).
  • Keep your antivirus software updated.

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