Microsoft is constantly coming out with updates to virtually all but its oldest software, which it makes available on the windowsupdate.com Web page. The purposes of updates are to patch “security holes,” improve functionality, fix bugs, update drivers, and so forth. In 95, there is no link to Windows Update; you’ll have to go to microsoft.com/windows95/downloads for Windows updates, but in the other versions, you’ll almost always find a link to Windows Update in the Start menu. In XP, it will be above the All Programs list and also in Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel. Another link to Windows Update is in the Tools menu in Internet Explorer. Microsoft divides its updates into three categories: Critical Updates, Windows (version) Updates, and Driver Updates. At some point, you will also be prompted to install software to install these automatically, which is convenient for the end user. Critical Updates should usually all be installed. For example, computers that had the appropriate critical update were immune from the Blaster worm that caused so much trouble in the summer of 2003. Windows (version) Updates should be chosen—for example, there is no need to install Internet Explorer support for the Danish language if the user doesn’t read it. Driver updates aren’t necessarily a good idea; if a hardware component is functioning correctly, it is best not to install a Windows driver update for it. There are situations in which the new driver will stop the component from functioning.
It is highly recommended to have a high-speed Internet connection to install updates, because some updates can take hours when using a dial-up connection.