Microsoft released a new batch of security updates for Windows and Internet Explorer yesterday. If you have Automatic Updates turned on and your computer is left on overnight, the updates are installed automatically. If you see the little gold shield with an exclamation mark down by the clock, click on it and install the updates.

You’ve had no reason to know this until now, but the heart of the Automatic Update system is Windows Update. Microsoft has now introduced a new service named Microsoft Update. It includes all the functions of Windows Update, but it also automatically installs security updates for Microsoft Office 2003 and some server-based software (currently Exchange Server and SQL Server). Eventually Microsoft intends to add support for virtually all of its software.

Everyone should switch over. It’s as simple as visiting the Microsoft Update site and doing a minute or two of clicking to follow the instructions. (There’s also a link on the Windows Update page – look on the right-hand side of the page.) When you’re done, you’ll be better protected.

If you’re using a previous version of MS Office, don’t forget to visit Office Online periodically and check for updates manually!

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