How do you know if your computer is up to date?


1.     What is Windows Update?

There’s an easy, free way to help keep your PC safer and running smoothly. It’s called Windows Update. All you have to do is turn it on, and you’ll get the latest security and other important updates from Microsoft automatically.

Check your settings

Setting up Windows Update is simple: Just go to the Microsoft Update website. If you’ve already got automatic updating turned on, Windows Update in Control Panel will open and show your update status. If it’s not yet turned on, you’ll be guided through the steps to do so. After that, all the latest security and performance improvements will be installed on your PC quickly and reliably.

It’s (mostly) automatic

When you turn on automatic updating, most updates will download and install without you having to lift a finger. But sometimes Windows Update will need your input during an installation. In this case, you’ll see an alert in the notification area at the far right of the taskbar—be sure to click it. If you don’t respond to a Windows Update alert, your PC might end up missing an important download.

We recommend that you use automatic updating—but if you choose not to, be sure to check for updates at least once a week.

Your computer is up to date when you’ve installed the latest updates for Windows and your programs. To check for Windows updates, follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Update by clicking the Start button . In the search box, type Update, and then, in the list of results, click Windows Update.
  2. In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.
  3. If any updates are found, click Install updates.

You might see both important and optional updates. If you don’t see the Install updates button when there are only optional updates, click Optional updates available, choose the ones you want, and then click OK.


2. What is PDF and why do I need Adobe Reader?

Free Download for Adobe Reader
As of 12-22011 – most recent version – Adobe Reader X (10.1..1)

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is just another way of saving a file (such as a Word document or an Excel Spreadsheet). If you are familiar with Word or Excel, you know that those files end in “.doc” and “.xls” (that is, you see the file name with a period and the letter d, o, c or x, l, s after it). If you are used to using your computer to download pictures from your digital camera, then you are probably accustomed to see .jpg at the end of the file name.

So, PDF is just another type of file format and .pdf is at the end of the file name. A PDF is almost a “perfect picture” copy of the document/graphic that has been saved. This is what makes it the ideal format for creating “share” files of graphics, forms, and other documents that are initially created in specialized computer design programs.

A PDF file can be opened by any one, on any computer, through the use of Adobe Reader. This is a software that is offered by Adobe Acrobat, and is free to download from the Adobe website. Most computers already have Adobe Reader software as part of the Microsoft operating system (such as Windows XP or now, Vista). However, if you don’t have Adobe Reader, you can easily download the latest version from Adobe. The easy-to-follow directions for downloading Adobe Reader are given below.

Once you have Adobe Reader, you can open any PDF file. When you click on the file to open it (either by clicking once or double-clicking, depending on how you have your computer options set up), Adobe Reader will automatically open. As soon as Adobe Reader is open, the file you selected will open. From this screen, you will be able to print the file or save it to your computer (on the toolbar, select File, then Save; select where you want to save the file, and change the File Name if desired).

You can easily determine if your computer already has Adobe Reader by clicking on the this link for a Sample PDF:

If this file opened then your computer already has Adobe Acrobat. You need do nothing further to be able to download and open PDF files

If the Sample PDF file did not open, then you will need to go to the Adobe website to download the free Adobe Reader software.

Click on the button that says “Get Adobe Reader” and follow the online instructions for downloading Adobe Reader.

Please be aware that older versions of Adobe Reader don’t allow you to do much more than save and print the file. The newer versions do have some tools for inserting text into the text, along with other features that allow you to modify a PDF file. Therefore, if your computer system is more than two years old, you might have Adobe Reader 6.0 or earlier (6.0 is the “version” of the software). Adobe 8.0 and newer versions have more user-friendly on-screen icons and functions, so if you have an older version, you might want to upgrade to the newer version. Simply click on the link to Adobe shown above and download the newest version.


3. What is Shockwave and Flash?

Shockwave and Flash players are both used to play online video content and for user interaction applications (for example, games). While the players appear to work the same to the average user, they do differ in function and design.

Shockwave and Flash players are used to view interactive content on websites (games, presentations or ads). They are both made by Macromedia (which is now owned by Adobe), and they are both free to download.

Go to –

As of 122-2011 –  Most recent version:

Adobe Shockwave Player

Adobe Flash Player