3 Reasons Why You Should Be Running The Latest Windows Security Patches & Updates

Tina Sieber 07-03-2012

latest windows security patchesThe code that makes up the Windows operating system contains security loop holes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements. In short, Windows isn’t perfect, we all know that. The latest Windows security patches fix the vulnerabilities and errors in Windows and associated software, and they occasionally add new features. This essentially summarizes why you should regularly run a Windows Update.


In case you are still not convinced, let me elaborate a little more on the three main reasons why you should install the latest Windows security patches and updates.

1. Protect Your System From Malicious Software

Hardly any code is perfect and sooner or later weaknesses will be identified. Security issues are the worst possible errors, as they may be exploited by malware to access and potentially damage your system. Here is a description of a cumulative security update published in December 2011:

Security issues have been identified in ActiveX controls that could allow an attacker to compromise a system running Microsoft Internet Explorer and gain control over it. You can help protect your system by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this item, you ay have to restart your computer.

latest windows security patches

Security issues are regularly identified in various parts of the Windows operating system, including ActiveX, Internet Explorer, .NET Framework, or the main platform. Even if you do not run the respective software, it is a risk not to patch it, simply because it is installed on your system. Note that these updates are required, even if you are running anti-malware or anti-virus software, as that software may not sufficiently protect you from Windows security issues.

Potential consequences of not installing security updates are damaged software, loss of data, or identity theft. Every year, malware causes damage of millions of dollars worldwide. The main reason is that users don’t install critical software or Windows updates, allowing malware to exploit loopholes that have long been patched. Vulnerabilities can potentially be exploited within hours of them becoming publicly known. So once a security update is available, you should immediately install the fix to protect your system from malware attacks.


2. Resolve General Windows Issues and Bugs

The second type of update addresses more general bugs and issues of the Windows operating system. These updates typically contain several fixes in one go. Below is the generic description of an update published in February 2012:

Install this update to resolve issues in Windows. For a complete listing of the issues that are included in this update, see the associated Microsoft Knowledge Base article for more information. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.

windows security patches

While these non critical errors are not responsible for security-relevant vulnerabilities, they may still be very annoying as they potentially impact the performance and stability of Windows. So the main reason for installing general updates is to avoid or resolve Windows issues and hopefully have a smooth and pleasant Windows user experience.

3. Access New Windows & Software Features

Finally, Windows updates often introduce new features, while also fixing some known issues. A good example is Internet Explorer. Even if you don’t plan on using the respective software, you should still run these updates, considering they often come with significant improvements and you may end up being forced to use the software after all. Moreover, Microsoft will eventually cease support for outdated software, e.g. old versions of Internet Explorer. This means that if new vulnerabilities are discovered, they will not be patched, as users are expected to run the latest version of the program.



It is critical to install security updates to protect your computer from malicious attacks. In the long run, it is also important to install software updates, not only to access new features, but also to be on the safe side in terms of security loop holes being discovered in outdated programs. And it is in your own best interest to install all other updates, which may potentially cause your system to be buggy.

I recommend to download Windows updates automatically, but choose whether and when to install them. Do, however, make an effort to install them as soon as possible. Rebooting really isn’t that bad!

latest windows security patches

How do you handle Windows updates? Have you ever had to roll back an update or did you ever suffer the consequences of not installing an update? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.


Related topics: Computer Maintenance, Software Updater.

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  1. Ritchie Smith
    August 15, 2019 at 11:46 am

    My trusty old Vista computer has now had its hotmail / outlook access disabled by Microsoft. Help! Any advice? I only use the computer to write, check emails, and have Norton for security. This is what I get now after I have signed in:
    [object ReadableByteStream]
    Anything I can do? Thanks.

  2. Suzanne
    February 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    When my Windows 8.2 stopped downloading months ago I have not received any appropriate actions from Windows, and nothing has helped. I don't know if installing Windows 10 would download properly, since Windows seems to be flawed. I don't know what could be used instead of Windows, which has always been on all computers I buy, including this computer. When I try to seek help I get advertised "fix it" claims which don't work and charge. I don't want to have to buy another new computer, when Windows would be just as reliable as it is on this computer. HELP!

    • Tina Sieber
      February 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Suzanne, what do you mean with Windows 8.2 stopped downloading? Windows 8.2 doesn't exist. Are you running Windows 8.1?

      You could try to Refresh or Reset Windows 8.1. Read the linked article for details on how to do that. Note that it will remove all your programs, but it might fix Windows and the Reset will also delete all your personal files, so make a backup first.

      Good luck!

  3. MustangChick
    May 21, 2016 at 2:04 am

    I forgot to mention that I am using Windows 10 :)

    • Tina Sieber
      May 21, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Which version of Windows 10 are you running? Your issue sounds like it may be related to the Insider Preview.

  4. MustangChick
    May 21, 2016 at 2:02 am

    I am not receiving any updates at all. Windows Defender D
    efinitions do not install automatically. I have not had a security update in 3 months. What is the problem?

    • Tina Sieber
      May 21, 2016 at 10:29 am

      Did you try to turn off updates at some point?

  5. admin
    March 4, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    This author needs to do a bit more research before advertising ignorance to the entire world.

    Of late, MANY Windows updates ARE malicious - installing MS updates to guard against malicious software is like hiring a fox to protect the chickens from the raccoons.

    Yes, in fact, I HAVE had to remove MS updates to reverse the effects of an installation that damaged one or more programs. And just so you know, uninstalling a bad update from 50 or so PCs, in two locations separated by over 100 miles, after a day of scouring the internet to find out what caused Outlook to begin crashing randomly (and, of course, NOTHING on Microsoft's "support" site acknowledging what they had done) simply isn't worth doing more than once - and I don't see Microsoft offering to reimburse my employer for the time I've wasted doing so.

    Perhaps the author should just stick with offering very bad advice, and leave network security to the professionals...

    • Tina Sieber
      March 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      The target audience of this 4 year old article were average users who are better off with immediately installing every security patch, rather than keeping vulnerabilities wide open for an indefinite amount of time.

      While I sympathize with the admin who has to fix an update that causes Outlook to crash on dozens of affected computers and understand his despise for Microsoft for letting through such a patch, I believe this is a less serious issue than having to remove malware from those same computers.

      The problem here is not my advice; from a security point of view it's sane. The issue in this case is Microsoft's faulty quality testing.

  6. Anonymous
    July 11, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    When windows update decides to kick in sometimes it takes 2hrs for it to complete, if I didn't have a secondary computer this would be totally annoying, I try to out smart the program by allowing the updates to start before i go to bed, and sometimes I wake up and take a look to see if has finished, then the computer says we couldn't complete the updates so we're redoing then, what a pain .

  7. Anonymous
    June 14, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I have been getting updates almost every day when I start my lap top. 12 mandatory and 2 optional. I'm running windows 7. My wife has windows 8 and it seem to do the same thing? My screen has been flickering and freezing every day also. So I just have been letting Microsoft continue running updates every day. I decided I would just turn off the automatic updates because it just seems such a nuisance and what the heck now my screen works great? Any one know what is going on with that?

  8. Josh Navarro
    July 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    it's sad how often i see people not update their computers. thje same people often us IE too. /sigh

  9. mac microsoft office 2011
    May 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    I am really inspired along with your writing skills and also with the format in your blog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you customize it yourself? Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it's rare to peer a great weblog like this one today..

  10. alfE
    April 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

    its the ultra hidden updates that bug me with windows 7, things like hotfixes that are hard to find for non techies, and visual basic redistrib's , masses of them alone! (well if you run x64 apparently you need x86 and x64 versions for optimimum compat!) any chance you might know more about tracking down the right hotfixes for non-techs Tina?

  11. Ralph Patrick Villaluz
    March 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    My settings for the Automatic Updates is on "Download updates but let me choose whether to install them" in my Vista laptop. While my internet connection is somewhat fast and not have experienced any slowdowns while the updates are downloading, my biggest gripe is having them installed automatically without me knowing what updates are being installed. There was one time my laptop got SP2 installed automatically, and the consequence was that no sounds were coming out; what was worse was that I don't know what audio driver I needed, so I had to reformat my laptop. Ever since then, I have Automatic Updates in the setting that I have right now.

    • Tina
      March 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      I take it you also check every update that was downloaded before you allow it to be installed. How many updates on average do you reject? How do you know whether or not an update will cause an issue?

  12. peg
    March 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Well i lost my acer flatscreen monitor with this last windows update of march 2012 - i am at my wits end with it and am now using my old dinosaur gateway ev700 monitor on here so i can still use the puter (hp pavillion media center edition 1630n - new guts in it from a computer shop tech so about a year old but still win xp - which i prefer to the other os) so i check and see this software distribution update and did search and found all sorts of uglies about that so i uninstalled the update and restored back to a couple days (luckily i still had some restore points - i saw also where this thing will remove that from your system) but it did no good so I went back and reinstalled the updates for security and it had nvidia updates as well - hmmmm so i did it and went to the nvidia site and got the most recent driver(s) - still no good no monitor its black and done i guess cuz if this monitor works why won't it. I will now no longer allow auto updates from windows/microsoft - especially for other items (like video card etc) that microsoft has nothing to do with in the first place - i feel they fried my monitor somehow with a auto restart (probably several times in a row - i dunno for sure but i was asleep when it all took place and woke to a bsod from it)

    • Tina Sieber
      March 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm


      sorry to hear that you had such a severe issue with Windows update.

      I find it hard to believe that a simple Windows update could damage hardware. Does that screen still work with other computers?

  13. Avastyu
    March 8, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I choose 
    " Don't download updates automatically, but notify me when they are available " because I have limited internet speed. But I will still download the update...

    • Tina
      March 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      Good point!

  14. phoenix
    March 8, 2012 at 6:30 am

    I suffer the consequences of not installing (a)n updates. Lots of programs don't work properly anymore.

    • Tina
      March 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Could that not be solved by simply installing the updates?

      • rob
        October 2, 2019 at 9:30 am

        that's also what i ended up finding out i was really never much into microsoft's updates but im glad i found that there are utilities that make it quicker to download and install much better instead of being so slow and waiting from what i have experienced

  15. Kieran Colfer
    March 8, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Did a windows update one time, they updated some generic graphics driver for my onboard intel gfx card. Straight after I rebooted, a quarter of my screen started greying out. Within a few mins, my whole screen had gone. Seems there was a pre-existing problem with that batch of graphics cards (bad quality control in HP) and whatever dud update had gone out through windows had fried my onboard gfx chip, which meant a new motherboard and $600 down the toilet. So, since then I've  been very careful with what crap I allow microsoft to put on my machine. 

    • Tina
      March 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm


      if that had happened to me, I would also be careful with automatic updates! In fact, I have had my issues with Windows updates in the past.

      So how do you decide what to install and what not?

  16. Dhanushka
    March 8, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I selected " Don't download updates automatically, but notify me when they are available ". Because it takes lot of  time and might slow down the internet connection too. Usually I install security updates immediately and keep the rest to install later. Because I think it consumes space and affects the system performance and slow down the computer. If I installed Microsoft Security Essentials and installed the latest updates, will it be enough? And I learned a lot from your article. Thanks a lot.

    • Tina
      March 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm


      a slow internet connection could indeed be impacted by these downloads, so disabling automatic downloads is a good idea.

      In addition to Windows Security Essentials, I would recommend to install a third party antivirus software (e.g. Avast or Avira AntiVir), as well as a malware scanner (e.g. Malwarebytes).

      Glad the article was helpful for you!

      • Josh Navarro
        July 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

        MSE is a very bad AV. i've tested it, as well as seen other tests, and it fails miserably. avast isn't that bad but there are other free, better AVs i'd recommend such as comodo internet security, or kingsoft AV 2012

        • Tina
          July 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm

          Thanks for the heads-up and the recommendation, Josh.