In my last post, I advised you to check the clocks and calendars of your computers and other electronic devices. Once you’ve made sure everything is in the here and now, the next logical step is to check for software updates, first to your Operating System (OS), then to the installed programs you use day-to-day.
As I described before, each system has its method for updating its OS. Here are the most common ones (click the ones that are relevant for you):
- Windows XP (NOTE: I recommend clicking the “Custom” button, then making sure to install the updates for “High Priority;” “Software, Optional;” and “Hardware, Optional.” The goal should be to see 0 updates next to all three, so repeat until that happens.)
- Windows 7
- Mac OS X (with entries for version 10.7 or earlier, and 10.8 “Mountain Lion”)
- iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
- PlayStation 3
- Xbox 360
- Wii (select “System Update” from the menu on the left)
Once you’ve brought your OS up to date, you’re going to want to check the apps you use for updates. This is more of a case-by-case process, and some apps begin the update process on their own, sometimes not at the most opportune times (I’m looking at you, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Flash!).
Microsoft Office (Windows Versions) can be updated in the same process as the Windows update (via “Microsoft Update”), which you can go to here.
Office for Mac requires opening one of the programs (e.g. Word) and then clicking its “Help” menu at the top of the screen. In the menu that drops down, select “Check for Updates.” When the update window comes up, you can choose whether to check for future updates automatically or manually. When the update sequence begins, you may need to quit the program (again, like Word) to let it properly complete.
Apps purchased on an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or in the Mac App Store on your Mac will alert you when it’s time to update, with a red notification badge on the App Store icon. Just click it and press the “Update All” button on the following screen.
As I mentioned earlier, some programs will be more aggressive about updating, like those from Adobe, or antivirus programs whose system tray icons will indicate when it’s time to update. You’ll be tempted to ignore or skip the updates, but I recommend saving your work; then quitting what you’re doing if at all possible; going through with your update; and restarting the computer when prompted. A good habit to get into (hence a “New Year’s Resolution”) is to check for updates once a week, perhaps at the end of the week, when you’re done with your crucial work and free to make sure everything is up to date.
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions to fill in the gaps in the procedures above, or in those not listed. Just e-mail me and let me know how I can help.
UP NEXT: Resolution #3, Uninstall What You Don’t Use