Windows Patching: The Technological Bane of the Modern Age


by Jordan McDonald | 07.10.2013
Categories: Blog

From my years in the IT industry I have gathered that the title of this article almost perfectly conveys the true sentiment and feelings that the average user has towards Windows patching. I could probably spend the better part of a morning going over all the issues with patching, but here are just a few that come to mind first – There always seems to be updates at the least opportune time, people don’t really know what they are installing and why are there so many on Tuesdays.
There is an old adage about a man named Murphy – “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”. While I can’t tell you how to totally rid your life of this issue I can at least assist in this area when it comes to patching your computers so they don’t patch in the middle of the day when you need them most. If you have a Windows 7 computer (Windows XP is only slightly different), in the 3 simple steps below you can curtail this annoyance once and for all by only installing update when you are most likely not using your computer – as long as it is still on.

1.Type “Update” in the search bar in the start menu and select “Windows Update”.


2. Click “Change settings on the left side of the window. 


3. Change the day and time to work around your schedule.


People always ask me, “What am I really installing and why should I do it?” These patches can cover anything and everything from closing known security holes to new software and features. Since operating systems in today’s day and age are so robust and required to do so much coupled with the speed that they release them there are bound to be holes and security flaws that hackers and virus’ can exploit so a lot of these patches with close these gaps thus keeping you and your data safer. If you want to know more simply go back to the windows update section like before, but instead of selecting “Change settings” select one of the blue hyperlinks. A list of available patches will appear and you can read their descriptions to the right.


Last but not least. If you haven’t changed when your updates are installed you may notice that there are a few more patches to be installed on Tuesdays. Microsoft denotes these days as “Patch Tuesdays”. The second Tuesday of the month is the special day they have been chosen to release most critical security patches along with some non-security patches. Sometimes in a very special month there will be a second “Patch Tuesday” on the fourth Tuesday when they will release yet more critical issues if their first attempt at it wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. Coupled with this known patch schedule, attackers have coined the phrase “Exploit Wednesday”. This happens shortly after patches are released when hackers begin analyzing the new patches for more weaknesses knowing that it will most likely be another month before their new found holes are closed thus forcing them to find new ones. This will most likely be a never ending vicious circle between developers and hackers – one always trying to best the other.

Nevertheless if you keep your Windows patches up to date, keep antivirus installed and current, are mindful of where you go and what you download you will remain relatively safe and secure in the online world. In the off chance that you do acquire a virus a quick restore from previously installed backup system will be a quick detour on your way back to normalcy.

I hope this cleared up a few common questions you may have had with patching your computers. If after reading this you and your company decide that you don’t want to manage all of this yourself, give us a call because we have a great tool that can manage all your patching needs along with a whole host of other great services.