The new all-in-one update service has been the subject of rumors and has been in limited beta testing for a while. It has finally been released to regular Windows users. I like it.
What is Microsoft Update? It is the one-stop update site for all your Windows and Office updates. In the past, we have had to do Windows Updates as one step and then do Office Updates as a totally independent step.
How many people do you know that do their Windows Updates regularly? I can tell you that it is not as many as need to be doing them. Of those regulars, how many do their Office updates regularly? Not many. Therein lies the problem.
Some of the vulnerabilities in Office programs (Word, Access, Excel, Powerpoint) have issues just as significant as those in Windows itself. Just last week, Microsoft issued a security fix for Word (including the Word version included in Works) that is meant to prevent someone using a Word document as a means to obtain full remote control of a victim’s computer.
Why should I use Microsoft Update? That’s easy. Because it is easy, you can’t forget to do one of them, and you don’t have to do two different steps to get your updates.
Microsoft Update, like Windows Update before it, uses Microsoft’s proprietary Active-X technology. If you are using an alternative browser, usually because of the security issues with Active-X, you will continue to have to use I.E. to get updates from Microsoft (Just to be clear, Do not ever get Windows or other Microsoft updates from other websites!)
How do I use Microsoft Update? Go to Windows Update (Start / Windows Update — or start Internet Explorer, then Tools / Windows Update). On the right-hand side of the page, there are two boxes. The top one addresses whether you have Automatic Updates turned on. The second box says “News” — currently, it says “Upgrade to Microsoft Update. Automatically receive updates for Windows, Office and more”.
Once you’ve used Microsoft Update once, you will have a new “Microsoft Update” selection on your “All Programs” menu, just beneath the current Windows Update item. Or, you can go directly to http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate using Internet Explorer.
As always, you will have to use Internet Explorer for updates from Microsoft — in fact, I recommend that you use I.E. for any visits to Microsoft’s site.