Computer security updates

Software updates

No matter if you are using a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, you should always ensure that the software you use is up to date, as vulnerabilities are constantly discovered in different programs. There are different methods for running updates:

  • Download the update through the program: many programs offer the option of downloading and installing updates directly from the software settings menu.
  • Download updates with the browser and install them ‘on top of’ the program: updates that can be downloaded separately are usually available on the web site or mobile store of the manufacturer.
  • Downloading the most recent version of the program and installing it: this updating method usually means you have to re-install the program from scratch.
  • Automatic updates: the smartest way is to save yourself from the trouble of updating and let the programs take care of their own updates when possible. Most programs update themselves automatically, but you should absolutely check this separately! This setting can be found in most programs in the menu Tools -> Options.

Whichever method you use for updating an operating system or a program, updates may fail and cause computer trouble. Always make back-up copies of important files before installing any big updates!

Operating system updates

Malware creators and phishing attackers are constantly looking for new security holes in operating systems in order to access the computers of unsuspecting users. This is why you need to update your operating system at regular intervals.

Operating system updates can fix security holes, but often they also improve the performance of the operating system. It is extremely important to make these updates regularly, because you will substantially reduce the chances of viruses, worms, and various malware to infect your computer.

Different operating systems have their own methods for updating them. The operating systems of mobile devices tend to send a very clear message when it is time to install an operating system update. Instructions to update the Windows 10 operating system are below:

  1. From the Start menu, select Settings.
  2. Select Update & Security.
  3. The operating system will open up a window allowing you to choose how the update will proceed and what it will include.


The operating system may want to restart itself before it can start using the updates.

You can also set the updates to be installed automatically with some versions of operating systems. In the most recent versions of operating systems, the most important updates are normally installed automatically. In some operating system versions, on the other hand, major version updates in particular must be installed manually. Therefore you need to be able to check this and install the latest updates, if necessary.

  • If you are running Windows, you can check the update situation in the manner described above on this page.
  • If you are using a Mac computer, on the other hand, you can check for updates by clicking System Preferences in the Apple menu. Check Software Update to see whether the operating system is up to date. In the same window, you can also check whether the updates are installed automatically. To do this, check whether Automatically keep my Mac up to date is checked.
  • In most mobile devices, the update settings can be found in the Settings menu.

Computers maintained by the University of Helsinki are updated automatically, so you do not have to worry about security updates when working on campus. However, you are responsible for the updates of your own computer and other devices.