Why did my PC reboot last night?

Check the calendar, if it is the second Wednesday of the month, Microsoft probably did it.  And this is a good thing.

Once a month, Microsoft sends out security patches and upgrades for Windows products like Windows XP, Vista, 7, Internet Explorer and Office.  This happens on the second Tuesday of the month.  We call it “patch Tuesday.”   If the security patches require a reboot to install, and this is often the case, the Microsoft updates will reboot your PC for you.  Hence your PC rebooted Wednesday morning.

This is all a good thing.  Fixing security holes is a good thing.

All software can have bugs and security holes.  We hear most about Microsoft software security issues because Microsoft has the majority of the software out there – Windows and Internet Explorer and Office – like 90% market share.

If you are a hacker for money, you’re going to attack the biggest market:  Microsoft software.  The biggest target is going to give you the biggest ROI (Return On Investment).

All software has bugs and security issues.  Sorry programmer guys and gals, you all write terrific software but bugs happen.   Mistakes and unexpected data happens.  The good news is you all fix the problem when brought to your attention.  A patch.

Who has software bugs?  Everyone.  Microsoft is the biggest, but  EVERYONE is susceptible – Adobe (Acrobat and Flash), Oracle (Java, MySQL, Oracle database), Apple (OS, Quicktime, Safari), Mozilla (Firefox) and everyone else.

The thing to do is to enable updates and install updates for the software that you use.  For computer geeks this is obvious and easy.  For average users, not so much, because they don’t know that Windows, Acrobat, Flash and applications need to be kept updated for security.   And those different style pop-ups confuse.

Google Chrome and Firefox 4 are introducing a just do it approach to software updates.  They download and install their latest updates transparent to the user.  You get the updates installed for your own good and you don’t even know.  This is good.

Microsoft is doing a good job with updates also.  Patch Tuesday.  And critical patches rolled out as necessary.

The lesson:  Keep your software updated to the latest version!  Enable your Windows to download and install updates.  When you see balloons suggesting that you update your software (Flash, Acrobat, Java, ) click on them and update.

This is a crazy system to keep our computer’s software up-to-date, but this is the system we have now (I’m typing April 2011).

My advice:  turn on Microsoft updates and click on the balloons that say an update is available for your software like Acrobat, Flash, Java, Firefox and any other software that you use.

And have a geek friend to talk to about updates, security, privacy.

Also, your computer may have rebooted due to hardware, software or power issues.   Again consult your local geek.

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