Safe Browsing Habits

The internet is full of viruses, trojans, malware, and spyware. Keeping your computer safe from these is very important.

Update Operating System

Whether you are using a Mac or PC, updating your operating system is very important. Updates are released on a regular basis to help protect your computer and to keep it running smoothly.

PC - How to install updates for...

Mac - How to update your Macintosh OS X

Update Web Browser

Your web browser is your gateway to the internet and is often times the entry point for computer viruses. It is therefore important that you frequently check for updates to your browser.

Internet Explorer - Updates are includes as part of your Windows updates

Mozilla Firefox -

Safari - Safari updates are included with Mac OS X updates. To update you Mac, go here.

Some Safe Browsing practices

  1. Update anti-virus and anti-malware programs
  2. Use a firewall program
  3. Never click on pop-ups
  4. Never respond to Spam e-mails
  5. Never open e-mail attachments that you were not expecting. If you are ever in doubt, e-mail the sender to make sure they sent it to you or google the e-mail to see if the attachment is bad.
  6. Never click on links in your e-mail. Instead, copy/paste the URL into your web browser to ensure that the link is not redirecting you unexpectedly. For an example of URL mis-direction, view this image.
  7. Avoid using peer-to-peer (P2P) network programs.
  8. Avoid using your personal e-mail address for random registrations. If you are browsing the web and come accross a form that you want to fill out, but you are not sure what it will do, you may want to use a throw away email address to fill it out with. View these Google search results for some Disposable Email services (Note: some sites disallow use of these accounts)
  9. Use programs such as WebOfTrust or McAfee Site Advisor to help avoid sites that are known for infecting computers.

Mac OSX Updates

Update MacOS X

Apple periodically releases updates and patches that will protect Mac OS X from being attacked by viruses and other malicious programs. Configuring OS X to automatically install these patches will ensure your computer is always protected.

Schedule updates

1. Click on the Apple menu, and choose System Preferences.

Mac Menu

2. In the window that appears, select Software Updates from the System section.

Software Update Icon

3. Check the box by Check for Updates and select Weekly from the pull–down menu.

4. Check the box by Download important updates in the background.

Windows Vista/7 Updates

Microsoft periodically releases security patches for Windows operating systems. Downloading and installing these updates will help protect your computer from viruses and threats. All you need to install updates on your computer is an active internet connection, and the instructions below:

All of the images below can be clicked on if you need a larger view.

Step 1Start Menu

Click the Start circle at the bottom left of your desktop.

Click the All Programs option at the bottom of the menu.

Step 2Windows Update Link

Click the Windows Update option in this list.

Note: If a link for Windows Updates does not appear in this list, you can always access it by opening up the Control Panel.

Step 3Check for Updates

A separate window should open. When it does, select the Check for Updates option on the left-hand menu. Windows will then go online and check for available updates.

Step 4Updates Results

When the check for updates is finished, Windows will display a screen similar to this one, letting you know how many updates were found.

Note: if no updates are found at this point, you already have all the latest updates installed.

If you notice that the number of updates available and the number of updates selected is different (as it is on the screenshot to the right), or there are optional updates available, you should click on the link to view the list of updates and select any that are missing.

Note: Sometimes Windows will leave certain updates un-selected if they are large and will take longer to install. These are still important updates, and should be installed if you have the time to let your computer sit and install them.

If it already says you have all the updates selected, you can skip to step 6.

Step 5Update List

This screen should display a list of available updates. Check the box at the very top (the one above the list). This will select all the updates in the list for installation.

If you have optional updates available, you can click the Optional tab on the left to view them. If you see things like language packs or toolbars (like the Bing desktop toolbar), you can leave them un-checked because they are optional software. If you see any general updates in this list, it is a good idea to check the box next to them for installation.

Click the OK button when you are finished selecting updates

Step 6Install Updates

You should now be looking at the same screen as Step 4. Click the Install Updates button, and Windows will begin downloading and installing your updates.

Step 7Updates Progress Bar

You will see a progress bar similar to the one on the screenshot to the right. This will show you the current progress. Once the progress bar is full, Windows will be finished installing your updates!

Note: Windows may ask you to restart your computer when updates are done. If it does, it is a good itea to restart right away. Also, if you had a lot of updates to install, you should run through the steps on this page again after your computer restarts, as additinal updates may become available after installation.

Windows XP Updates

Important End-of-Life Notice Regarding Windows XP

Microsoft will stop support and security patching for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. The international security community believes that Windows XP computers will be heavily targeted by organized crime and hackers as soon as Microsoft ends support. We strongly recommend that you migrate to a supported Windows platform, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8, before the end of March 2014.

Microsoft periodically releases security patches for Windows operating systems. Downloading and installing these updates will help protect your computer from viruses and threats.

Installing Critical Updates

1. Open Internet Explorer » Go to windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

If a "Security Warning" or a prompt to install software appears, confirm it is from Microsoft, and then click "Yes."

2. Click the button titled Express.

Windows Update Express Install

3. Wait briefly while the site scans your computer to see what updates are needed.

4. At the next screen, click the Install Updates button.

5. Any needed high-priority updates will be downloaded and installed. If you are prompted to restart after the updates have been installed, do so.