2- Keep your Windows updated

Many users don't really understand the need for software updates. After all, when you buy an appliance, such as a washing machine or a TV, it doesn't need "updating".

Unfortunately, modern computer software is a lot more complex, and the Internet is, often, an hostile environment. Therefore, quite frequently, security holes in a popular piece of software are discovered, and must be fixed by the software maker, through updates.

The most important example is the operating system itself, in this case Windows. It's vital that you keep it updated, since most attacks take advantage of security flaws that have been already fixed in the latest updates. In particular, some spyware installs itself through those flaws.

The easiest method is, simply, to have automatic updates enabled. This way, Windows periodically "talks" to Microsoft, and automatically installs new updates as they become available.

The most recent Windows versions have automatic updates enable by default, which is a good thing. However, many users, without realizing the need for updating your system, disable automatic updates for some reason. It's important to check if they're active, and, if not, they should be.

The simplest way to do it, and which works with the various Windows versions, is to go to Windows Update (with Internet Explorer - here, and only here, you have to use it). One of the initial pages there tells you whether you have automatic updates enabled or not, and tells you how to enable them if they're not.

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