It is important to update software because programs on your computer can have various different problems that either aren’t found until after it’s released or that happen over time due to some kind of programming flaw. This happens to all software from your computer’s Operating System, all the way down to your web browser. Your computer can run into these software problems without you even knowing it until they cause your computer to mess up and slow down. That is why it is important to make sure all of your computer’s software is up to date. It will make your computer faster and also prevent software exploits. I am going to show you how to update programs.
How to Update Computer Software
All software that is used on your computer can be broken up into at least 2 main groups. These groups are the Operating System and then there are the individual Programs (which are also known as Applications). Regardless of what type of program you are updating, you need to know how to update your computer.
The Operating System is the main software on your computer that helps all the other programs run properly. An example of an Operating System is Windows XP. Without an Operating System, your computer could not run at all. It is the software that is the mediator between all your computers hardware and all the other software including programs.
A program or application is a piece of software that has a specific function that can be added or installed on it’s own. Unlike the Operating System, your computer can work with or without a particular Program but you may need a particular Program to Perform a certain task on your computer. An example of a program is Firefox, which is a web browser. Your computer does not need a web browser to work, but if you want to surf the web you will need to have a web browser. There are many more examples of programs just let me know if you would like more.
First I will show you how to tell what version of a program you are running before you check for computer updates. I will use the previous example of a web browser but this same procedure works for almost all programs in Windows. Make sure that the program is open and running. Look near the top of the program for the Menu Bar. It should look something like this:
Click on where it says ‘Help’ and choose ‘About ——-’
In this case the web browser is called ‘Mozilla Firefox’ This will change depending on what program you are running. The important thing to remember when trying to figure out what version of a program you are running is “Help > About” which will always get you to where you can tell what version of the software is installed on your computer. In this case the following screen is brought up:
It shows that the Web Browser called Firefox is at Version 3.6.13 So how can we tell if this is the latest version? Well let’s use our friend the Internet! I went to Google and typed: “What is the current version of firefox.” Here’s what I got:
So from the search we know that the version of firefox on my computer is up to date. You can use this technique for any program on Windows! Now there is an easier way but it’s not available in all programs that’s why I’m showing it to you secondly. Go back to your browser and back to the menu bar from earlier. Click on where it says Help again and then choose Check for updates. It should look like this:
Now in this case, we already know the browser is up to date so the following window will pop up:
But, if the Program was NOT up to date, It would have shown something like “A New Version of this software is available. Would you like to update Now?” If you click yes then it will automatically install the latest version of whatever software you are in. It’s that easy!
Updating the Operating System
Now I will show you how to tell what Version of Windows you are running and how to check for computer updates. First, click the Start Button
In the Menu that comes up, there will be two columns. In the column on the right, close to the center, you will see Control Panel. Click on that.
In all likelyhood, the window that pops up will look something like this:
Now it may look a bit different depending on your Operating System or settings but what we are looking for is where it says System. Either way it should look something like this:
In the window that comes up, it will tell you what version of Windows is on your computer. In my case, it looks like this:
Now to make sure your Operating System is up to date, hit the back button in the top left of the current window. Look right below ‘System’ where we clicked before and click on where it says Windows Update. It will look like this:
In the window that comes up, on the left hand side choose “Check for Updates”
Windows will now check for all the Operating System updates available for your computer. When it’s done you should see a screen that looks like this:
Notice that the updates are broken up into two options: Important Updates and Optional Updates. I usually click on the Important Updates and make sure that EVERYTHING is selected. Then I click where it says Optional Updates and just pick and choose what I want there. The optional updates aren’t necessarily required but may be beneficial in some way. For example, here is what is offered for my optional updates:
I usually select to install anything that sounds like it will make my computer run better. I always read the description of what something is in the right to make sure what it is I’m updating and If I don’t think it’s important I don’t update it – but that’s just my personal choice. In this case, I chose everything. After you check all the check boxes for updates that you want, be sure and choose ‘Ok’ in the bottom right corner. Look and see that the number of selected updates is what it should be. Then when you’re ready choose the ‘Install Updates’ button. Note that some updates will need you to restart your computer before they are installed all the way so make sure you have everything saved that you need to have saved before installing any updates.
If your Operating System is fully up to date, your screen will look something like this:
If you see this, that’s all there is to it… you’re done! It is very important to keep both your Operating System and Individual Programs up to date. This will keep your system running fast and protect you from bad software like viruses and other exploits. It may even make your computer faster than the day you got it! Happy updating, Everyone!
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