Windows 8.1 is more secure than previous versions of Windows, but you may have noticed that Microsoft isn’t going so far as to say, “You don’t need an antivirus program anymore.” The hackers will have a much harder time of it, but with so many million lines of code to explore, they’re sure to break in somehow.
Microsoft and other security researchers constantly find new security holes—and as soon as they’re found, Microsoft rushes a patch out the door to fix it. But creating a patch is one thing; actually getting that patch installed on multiple millions of copies of Windows around the world is another thing entirely.
In fact, it’s Microsoft’s patches that usually alert hackers to the presence of security holes in the first place! They exploit the fact that not everyone has the patch in place instantly. (Which brings up the question: Should Microsoft even be creating the patches? But that’s another conversation.)
That’s where Windows Update comes in. When Microsoft releases a security fix, it gets delivered straight to your PC and automatically installed. (If you want, you can first review the fix before installing it, although few people have enough knowledge to judge its value.)
Windows Update doesn’t deliver patches just to Windows itself; it can also send you better drivers for your hardware and patches to other Microsoft products, notably Office.
As shown in Figure 21-12, Windows Update has two front ends: one at the desktop, and one in TileWorld. ...