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Update Your Operating System and Software - Knowledgebase / Security / General Security - OIT Service Center

Update Your Operating System and Software

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New malware is generated round-the-clock, threatening your computer or device, its operating system, and the software/apps installed on it. Your anti-virus software as well your browsers are also at risk if not kept current and properly patched.

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. Follow these best practices to stay protected.

Keep Your Operating System and Its 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. Visit Microsoft's Windows Update FAQ for more details.

Apple computers can get critical system updates from the Apple Support Downloads website. For a chronology of updates, visit the Apple Security Updates site.  Tip: Set the frequency on checking for Apple updates at: Apple main menu > System Preferences > Software Update.

Use the Latest Version of Your Software (includes browser and anti-malware products)

Besides your OS and its associated software, be sure to keep other programs and apps up to date.


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 browsers and how they handle updates:

  • Firefox: Configure it to auto-check for updates at Tools > Options > Advanced > Update > Automatically install updates
  • Google Chrome: Automatically checks for updates by default (see Update Google Chrome)
  • Microsoft Edge: Automatically updates to latest version through Windows Update
  • Opera: Automatically updates to latest version.  To manually check for an update, go to the menu and click Update & Recovery.
  • 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.

Brown Software

The Brown community is generally notified of new software or updates to it via Today@Brown announcements. You can also view the most recent versions in the Software Catalog.

Anti-Virus Protection

Install the latest version of anti-virus protection from the Software Catalog. Using Brown's version ensures that the latest virus definitions are pushed to your computer each time you log into the Brown network.

Don't Forget Your Mobile Device

Update your mobile device frequently, selecting the automatic update option if available for your particular phone. Keep any installed software, including operating systems and applications, up-to-date as well. Utilize anti-virus programs and configure automatic updates if possible.

  • Android: While usually pushed to your phone when available, access Settings >About Device to verify the version you are running. To check your apps, visit the Google Play Store and select My apps to determine which need updating.
  • iPhone/iPod Touch: Use iTunes to update your iPhone with the latest software. See also the article iOS: How to update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
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