Skip to main content

Keep Your Computer Up To Speed — Install Software Updates

Reality Check

Check MarkUse up-to-date security software

Most new computers come with some kind of security software—either a full version that simply needs to be updated regularly or a trial version that could expire after a few months. If you need security software for your computer, a full version of Northwestern's security software is free for download to students, faculty, and staff and supported by Northwestern Information Technology (IT). Follow the instructions to download, install, and enable automatic updating.

Set your security program to scan your computer automatically at least once per week, or immediately if you notice a problem.

Check Mark Set your computer to automatically download and install patches for your operating system

Even a brand new computer isn’t perfect. Software companies regularly release updates to improve a program’s performance and security. Install these updates when prompted by your computer or you leave yourself vulnerable to cybercriminals. Keep your computer running smoothly and securely by setting your computer to regularly download and install updates.

Windows 7/Windows Vista
  1. Right click on My Computer
  2. Select Properties
  3. Click Windows Update
  4. Click Change settings
  5. Click Install updates automatically (recommended)
  6. Click OK
Windows XP
  1. Right click My Computer from the Start menu or the Desktop
  2. Select Properties, bringing up a Systems Properties window
  3. Select the Automatic Updates tab
  4. Select Automatic and choose a time every day that your computer will be on
  5. Click OK
Mac OS X
  1. Select Apple, Systems Preferences
  2. Click Software Update
  3. Select Check for updates
  4. Choose Daily from the drop-down menu

Check Mark Update other software when prompted

Out-of-date software can contain security or performance flaws. Often, the program itself prompts you to install updates to fix these issues. Make it a habit to update your software, including Microsoft Office, Adobe, iTunes, and Java—it keeps you secure and the program running smoothly.

Last Updated: 5 May 2017

Get Help Back to top