Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

"This seems like a fairly simple question…"

“Hi Paul, I’m just a single user with a question I apparently can’t get answered very easily by searching for it via the Internet. I’m hoping maybe you can ‘square me away’ by answering it. On it’s face, this seems like a fairly simple question.

If I’m using an excellent antivirus program (which I am; it’s the Avira antivirus program) is it still necessary for me to install Windows so-called critical security updates to my computer…? I have a computer that so far still works very well but was built in 2001 and so, although I still have more than 75 percent of free space remaining on the hard drive, it doesn’t have tons of memory (and as you know, a lot of ‘critical’/?mandatory windows updates can use considerable mb’s of space).

Wouldn’t critical updates also be downloaded by/through the antivirus programs/companies, without having to separately download them as individual users…? I realize this is a two-part question and appreciate whatever appropriate response you may have.
Thank you
,” ~ Anon

A: Your questions indicate that you are “mixing apples and oranges”, twice.

A program – and Microsoft Windows is a collection of programs – needs to receive security patches (these are usually called “updates”) to close holes and fix programming errors in the (program’s) code that hackers are (already) using to gain administrative control of the PC. (Currently, Apple  and Adobe software are the most exploited.)

You ABSOLUTELY want them.
(Each program author will write their own ‘updates’, and you want those too!) See, What’s With All These Updates?!*

They have nothing to do with AV.. and the ‘virus definition updates‘. Your AV will receive “fingerprints” (samples) of virus/trojan/keylogger/etc. from the authors so that it can have something to use (for comparisons) to find such code on your machine. You want those too.. which is why letting your AV subscription “expire” is a very bad thing (not an issue for you and Avira).
Though the word is the same, it is being used to describe two different things. You’ll find that a lot when dealing with tech and “geek speak”.

You are mixing your “memory”.
There are two kinds — the dynamic RAM.. which you don’t want to load up unnecessarily, and “storage memory” (your hard disk — “c:\”). Windows Updates use the latter. And so they do not “slow down” your aging machine. Okay?

Windows Updates closes holes (in Windows) the bad guys are using to climb in through.
I like to use this as an analogy — think of a program as a house made of brick and mortar.. the hackers are like little tiny bugs, trying to find a crack to get in. And they find them. Updates are mortar patches that fill those cracks.

Also — I don’t mean to alarm you, and certainly not offend you, but I am the type of person who speaks what is on my mind. I would not connect a vintage 2001 Windows computer to the Internet. I would scrap it.. or keep it around for playing my old games on.. but I would not access the Web with it.

If my finances were such that I simply did not have the option of buying an up to date computer (Windows 7, 64 – bit/ Apple OS 10.6 [64 bit]) I would purchase Wondershare Time Freeze, or use the free Comodo Time Machine and learn how to use them. They “sandbox” your machine.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 26, 2011 Posted by | advice, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, hackers, how to, Internet, Microsoft, PC, security, software, tech, Windows | , , , , , , | 10 Comments