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Computer users face vulnerabilities in software. By taking advantage of these, hackers can launch attacks, send spam, or host illegal software servers. Student Computing recommends staying updated with the latest software patches to avoid these exploits.

Keeping Windows Updated

To run Windows Update in all versions of Windows:

  1. In Internet Explorer, go to, or click on Tools in the menu bar, and select Windows Update.
  2. If this is your first time running Windows Update, a window will appear, asking if you want to Install and run 'Windows Update V4 Control'.
  3. Click on Scan for Updates in the right window pane.
  4. After scanning for updates, a list of updates will appear. Click on the Review and install updates link and then click the Install Now button. An End-User License Agreement (EULA) window may appear.
  5. After the updates have successfully downloaded and installed, a window may prompt you to reboot your computer. Click Yes to reboot.

Once your computer has restarted, repeat steps 1-5 until no more critical updates and service packs appear. Some updates can only be installed after previous patches have been applied.

Next, you should turn on Windows Automatic Updating. Right click on My Computer on your desktop and select Properties. In the System Properties box select the Automatic Updates tab. Make sure 'keep my computer up to date” is checked. Then enter your preferred updating schedule and click OK. You will now be notified by Windows when there are new security updates available for download.

Keeping Your MacOS updated

Computers running MacOS 9 and X are set to automatically check for updates and will prompt you when they have updates that need to be installed. To check for operating system updates in Mac OS X:

  1. Click on and select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Software Update.
  3. Check Automatically check for updates... if it is unchecked.
  4. Click Check Now to check for software updates.
  5. Select all updates and then click Install.
  6. Reboot your computer, if prompted.

Password Security

All secure Yale sites require that you login using your NetID and password. It is extremely important that you keep your NetID password secret. Do not share the password with friends, family, or anyone at Yale. Sharing your password is a security violation and in direct violation of the ITS Appropriate Use Policy.

A good password should be 8 to 14 characters long and should contain numbers and both uppercase and lowercase letters. Never use a word that can be found in a dictionary. Do not use the same password for your NetID and for other online web sites and e-mail services. ITS recommends that students change their NetID passwords at least once every two months. For more password guidelines, please visit