Brown University

Keep It Current » Updating Your Operating System & Software


Why You Should Care:

New malware is generated round-the-clock, threatening your computer or device, its operating system, and the software/apps installed on it. Your anti-malware software as well as your browser(s) are also at risk if not kept current and properly patched. Making simple setting changes now could protect your personal e-property (email, files, etc.) and then you can let your computer handle the rest.

What You Can Do:

Having the latest software version means your computer or device will be not only be more secure but will also perform better and be more reliable. To stay protected and chugging along smoothly, follow these three steps:

  • Keep your operating system and programs current
    If your computer alerts you to the availability of new critical system updates, don't ignore them. Instead, install them as soon as possible.

    Windows computers can get critical system updates from the Microsoft Update website (you must use Internet Explorer to obtain updates in this way). Visit Microsoft's Windows Update page for an overview of this feature. For more details on specific OS, visit the Windows 7 pages. Windows users may also want to check out how to turn automatic updating on.

    Apple computers can get critical system updates from the  Apple Support Downloads website. For a chronology of of the latest updates, visit the Apple Security Updates site. Tip: Set the frequency on checking for Apple updates at: Apple main menu > System Preferences > Software Update.
  • That includes your browser(s)
    Running the most current version of your browser is key to protecting your computer against internet threats like spyware and other nefarious hacker exploits. When asked to accept an update, be sure to do so. Note that some browsers will always check for the latest version. Here is a list of the top four browsers and how they handle updates:
    • Firefox: Configure it to auto-check for updates at Tools > Options > Advanced > Update > Automatically check for updates to (Window only)
    • Internet Explorer: Configure it to auto-check for updates at Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Browsing > Automatically check for IE updates
    • Google Chrome: Automatically checks for updates by default (see Google Chrome and Browser Security)
    • Safari: Takes advantage of Apple Software Update and checks for the latest versions of Safari when you're on the Internet. It is recommended that Windows users install Software Update for Windows to keep Safari and other Apple software up-to-date.
  • Use Brown's software
    The Brown community is generally notified of new software or updates to it via Morning Mail. You can view the latest versions of software on the Software Catalog.
  • Anti-malware protection
    Install the latest version of anti-malware software (see Tip #1) available from the Software Distribution website. Using Brown's version ensures that the latest anti-malware definitions are pushed to your computer each time you log into the Brown network.
  • Don't forget your mobile device
    Keep any installed software, including operating systems and applications, up-to-date as well. If available for your device, select the "automatic update" option. Use a security program appropriate for your device and configure it for automatic updates if possible.