From the days of Windows 98, we all know that the Windows operating system is always vulnerable to malicious attacks and security bugs and this situation is just as relevant today as it’s ever been, perhaps even more so. That’s why you need to constantly check for updates in Windows Updates to patch any security holes that have been discovered. Microsoft comes out with new updates every month known as ‘patch Tuesday’ because they are usually released on the second Tuesday of every month. There are a few ways to obtain Windows Security Update patches and make sure your system is protected, thus closing the security holes and any attempt to exploit them.
The easiest and most simple way is using the Windows built in Automatic Updates function which will automatically check and download any updates at a specified day and time. Although the patches usually get released once a month, if high security risks are found or patches to prevent major web based attacks are needed, they will be released immediately.
If you don’t like Windows to constantly connect to Windows Update and you have XP, then you can manually visit the Windows Update website and either select Express or Custom checking method. Windows Vista and 7 users have an easier time doing this as the option to manually update is done through the Windows Update function in the Control Panel.
There is another way to check if you are missing any important security updates, and that is to use Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner. Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner checks your system for Windows Vulnerabilities. It guides you to update with the right patch to make your system secure. It’s less than 1MB and a portable standalone executable so all you need to do is download and run it. Click on the Yes button to start scanning your Windows right away or clicking No will show a window with your system’s information such hard drive space, memory usage a few stats about the current Windows install.
Once the Scan is completed which takes no more than a couple of seconds, Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner lists the vulnerabilities detected, their risk level and the Microsoft security bulletin number with a link to the download location of the patch. It also creates the log file named Protector_Plus_Windows_Vulnerability_Scan.htm at the same location where Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner was executed. This is basically an html version of what is displayed in the window.
Protector Plus – Windows Vulnerability Scanner is free to use. This software is compatible with Windows XP , Windows 2000, Windows 2003, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
It’s a tool which is pretty useful for people like me. I don’t use Automatic Updates and for some unknown reason Windows Update doesn’t work properly for me. When I visit Windows Update and click on Custom, I will only see the bar moving and that’s it. It never display what hotfix my Windows is needed to install. The drawback of this free tool is that it doesn’t have LiveUpdate feature. The program is updated by Proland Software every month to detect new vulnerabilities, so you need to download a new version and manually run the Windows Vulnerability Scanner every month. Might not be the best way to check for hotfixes, but it’s my preferred method.