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Get advance notice about September 2014 security updates

September 4th, 2014 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the September security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

Learn how to install Windows Updates in Windows 7.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Get advance notice about September 2014 security updates

September 4th, 2014 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the September security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it.

Learn how to install Windows Updates in Windows 7.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Get advance notice about August 2014 security updates

August 7th, 2014 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the August security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

Learn how to install Windows Updates in Windows 7.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Get advance notice about July 2014 security updates

July 3rd, 2014 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the July security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

Learn how to install Windows Updates in Windows 7.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Windows XP registry hack will not protect your PC against all threats

July 1st, 2014 No comments

In April, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. This means that if your computer is still running Windows XP, you are no longer receiving security updates.

Several tech news sources have recently reported a change that you can make to your Windows registry (known as a “registry hack”) that tells your Windows XP computer that it’s running Windows Embedded or Windows Server 2003.

Although this hack might allow your Windows XP computer to receive automatic updates, these updates will not fully protect your Windows XP computer. And because these updates are not intended for Windows XP, they might also cause your computer to stop working correctly.

If you are running Windows XP, the best way to protect your computer is to upgrade to a modern operating system, like Windows 8.1.

Learn more about your options if your computer is still running Windows XP

Get advance notice about June 2014 security updates

June 5th, 2014 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the June security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

Learn how to install Windows Updates in Windows 7.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

New research shows rise in “deceptive downloads”

May 7th, 2014 No comments

According to the latest cybersecurity report from Microsoft, “deceptive downloads” were the top threat for 95 percent of the 110 countries surveyed.

What are deceptive downloads?

Deceptive downloads are legitimate downloadable programs (usually free) such as software, games, or music that cybercriminals bundle with malicious items.

For example, you might receive a file in email or through social networking, but when you try to open it you see a message that says you don’t have the right software to open it. You do a search online and come across a free software download that claims it can help you open the file. You download that software, but you unknowingly might also be downloading malicious software (also known as “malware”) with it. This malware might have the ability to access personal information on your computer or use your computer for cybercrime.

It could be months or even years before you notice your system has malware.

How can I avoid deceptive downloads?

What should I do if I think I’ve been a victim of a deceptive download?

Do a scan with your antivirus software. If your computer is running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to check for and to help you get rid of a virus or other malware.

If your computer is running Windows 7 or Windows Vista, do the following:

What is the Security Intelligence Report?

The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) covers research on computer security, including software vulnerabilities, exploits, and malicious and potentially unwanted software. Volume 16 of the report was released today. If you want to learn more about deceptive downloads and other key findings, please visit Microsoft.com/SIR.

Get the latest version of Internet Explorer

April 24th, 2014 No comments

Microsoft released an updated version of Internet Explorer this month, and it’s available as a free download on Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Phone 8.1. To increase your security and privacy, it’s important that you use the latest version of any software, but especially your web browser. This new version of Internet Explorer also includes new features that make it easier to browse the web on a variety of devices.

Learn more at the Internet Explorer blog.

If you have automatic updating turned on, you already have the latest version of Internet Explorer.

Learn how to get updates like this one, as well as security updates for all your Microsoft software automatically.

Get the latest security updates and find out what to do if your computer is running Windows XP

April 8th, 2014 No comments

Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month.

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.

As a result, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to help protect your PC.)

More information

Get security updates for March 2014

March 11th, 2014 No comments

Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month.

Skip the details and check for the latest updates.

This bulletin announces the release of security updates for Windows, Microsoft Word, and other programs.

To get more information about security updates and other privacy and security issues delivered to your email inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

How do I know if I already have antivirus software?

February 21st, 2014 No comments

If your computer is running Windows 8

If your computer is running Windows 8, you already have antivirus software. Windows 8 includes Windows Defender, which helps protect you from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

If Windows Defender is turned off and you don’t have another antivirus program installed (or your other antivirus program is not working), you will see a warning in the notification area on your taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows 7

Windows 7 includes spyware protection, but to protect against viruses you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

To find out if you already have antivirus software:

  1. Open Action Center by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Review your computer’s status.
  2. Click the arrow button  next to Security to expand the section.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it’s listed under Virus protection.

Windows doesn’t detect all antivirus software, and some antivirus software doesn’t report its status to Windows. If your antivirus software isn’t displayed in Action Center and you’re not sure how to find it, try any of the following:

  • Type the name of the software or the publisher in the Search box on the Start menu.
  • Look for your antivirus program’s icon in the notification area of the taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows Vista

Windows Vista does not include virus protection. To protect against viruses, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

The status of your antivirus software is typically displayed in Windows Security Center.

  1. Open Security Center by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking Security, and then clicking Security Center.
  2. Click Malware protection.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it will be listed under Virus protection.

Windows does not detect all antivirus software, and some antivirus software doesn’t report its status to Windows. If your antivirus software is not displayed in Windows Security Center and you’re not sure how to find it, try any of the following:

  • Look for the antivirus software in the list of programs on the Start menu.
  • Type the name of the software or the publisher in the Search box on the Start menu.
  • Look for the icon in the notification area of the taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows XP

Click the security icon on the taskbar, or click Start, select Control Panel, and then double-click Security Center.

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. This means that after April 8, there will be no new security updates available through automatic updating for computers that are still running Windows XP.

Also on this date, Microsoft will stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to protect it.)

For more information, see Support is ending soon.

Get more information about upgrading to Windows 7 and Windows 8.

I don’t know what operating system my computer is running

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Support for Windows XP ends in two months on April 8, 2014

February 8th, 2014 No comments

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for its decade-old Windows XP operating system. This means that after April 8 there will be no new security updates available through automatic updating for computers that are still running Windows XP.

For more information, see Support is ending soon.

Without critical security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal or damage your business data and other personal information.

Get more information about upgrading to Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Get advance notice about December 2013 security updates

December 5th, 2013 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the December security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

For other versions of Windows, you can check whether automatic updating is turned on through the Microsoft Update website. This will open Windows Update in Control Panel; if automatic updating is not turned on, you’ll be guided through the steps to set it up. After that, all the latest security and performance improvements will be installed on your PC quickly and reliably.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Newer software can increase your computer security

October 31st, 2013 No comments

This week we released volume 15 of the Security Intelligence Report (SIR), which covers our research on computer security, including software vulnerabilities, exploits, and malicious and potentially unwanted software.

One of the key findings to surface from the latest report is the increased risk of using old, unsupported software and emphasizes the positive impact of security innovations and technologies in newer software. Advanced security technologies in modern operating systems are specifically designed to make it more difficult, more complex, more expensive, and therefore, less appealing to cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.

For more information, see New cybersecurity report details risk of running unsupported software.

For more information, see our Microsoft on the Issues blog post titled “New cybersecurity report details risk of running unsupported software.”

Support for Windows XP ends in April 2014

Windows XP was released almost 12 years ago, which is an eternity in technology terms. While we are proud of the success of Windows XP in serving the needs of so many people for more than a decade, inevitably there is a tipping point where dated software and hardware can no longer defend against modern-day threats and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals. 

If you’re still using Windows XP, you’re missing out on all kinds of enhancements to computer security, productivity, and performance that are available in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Find out what end of support for Windows XP means to you.

EMET: A valuable tool for PC protection

October 18th, 2013 No comments

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ve probably already taken steps to help protect your PC. You have antivirus software that you trust and you keep it updated automatically. You’ve activated your firewall. You regularly install security updates. You know not to respond to suspicious emails or to click links with promises that seem too good to be true.

Today we’d like to tell you about an advanced tool that complements your existing defenses, making it even more difficult for malicious hackers and cybercriminals to get into your computer. If you feel comfortable performing more advanced computer tasks, consider downloading the free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET).

EMET is a free tool available for Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. EMET works by taking advantage of security technologies that already exist on your PC, but might not be used by all of your programs. EMET helps protect your computer from new or undiscovered threats until they can be addressed through formal security updates. Katie Couric, a journalist and a talk show host, recently hosted a segment called Protect Your Computers from Hackers and recommended that families install and use EMET.

Download EMET now

Once installed, EMET works quietly in the background without interrupting your computer use. Like any security tool, EMET doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never have any problems, but it does make it much harder for an attacker to succeed.

Already using EMET? Get support or join the EMET forum.

Get advance notice about October 2013 security updates

October 3rd, 2013 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the October security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update 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.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

For other versions of Windows, you can check whether automatic updating is turned on through the Microsoft Update website. This will open Windows Update in Control Panel; if automatic updating is not turned on, you’ll be guided through the steps to set it up. After that, all the latest security and performance improvements will be installed on your PC quickly and reliably.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Support for Windows XP ends soon

August 20th, 2013 No comments

The first thing you need to know: Support for Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014. You can get solutions to your Windows XP security issues now, but not for too much longer. If you’re still using Windows XP, you’re missing out on all kinds of security, productivity, and performance enhancements available in Windows 7 and in Windows 8.

If your computer is running Windows XP, you should take action. After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates for Windows XP. Learn more about the product lifecycle.

To continue to get support, including security updates and updates to help your computer be more reliable, consider an upgrade sooner rather than later.

If you choose to continue using an unsupported version of Windows XP, Windows will continue to start and run. However, you won’t receive any software updates, including security updates that can help protect your computer. Think of it like an older car with non-working airbags: The car still works, but it’s not the safest ride in town.

Learn more about what it means if your version of Windows is no longer supported

What do I do if my updates don’t install?

August 15th, 2013 No comments

The easiest way to get security updates automatically is to go to the Microsoft Update website and make sure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Microsoft Update provides very important updates for performance and security. If you have automatic updating turned on and it isn’t working, you will see a warning message if an update can’t be installed.

To troubleshoot Microsoft Update in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP

If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP and your updates don’t install, you can use the Windows Update troubleshooter to find and fix problems. To open the troubleshooter:

  1. Click the Start button.
  2. In the search box, type Troubleshooter.
  3. In the results list, click Find and fix problems.
  4. Under System and Security, click Fix problems with Windows Update.

To troubleshoot Microsoft Update in Windows 8

Windows 8 has an automatic troubleshooter that can fix some common problems with Windows Update. To open the troubleshooter:

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search.
    If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.
  2. In the search box, type Troubleshooting.
  3. Tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Troubleshooting.
  4. Under System and Security, tap or click Fix problems with Windows Update.

Learn more about how to get security updates automatically.

For more information about troubleshooting problems with Windows Update in Windows 8, see Troubleshoot problems with installing updates.

Support for Windows XP ends in April 2014

April 30th, 2013 No comments

After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates for Windows XP SP3.

Learn about upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

The Microsoft Support Lifecycle provides consistent, predictable guidelines for product support availability when a product releases and throughout that product’s life.

Windows and Office products receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support) at the supported service pack level.

Get more information about what end of support means for you

Internet Explorer 10 now available for Windows 7

March 5th, 2013 No comments

If you’re running Windows 7, you can now get the newest version of Internet Explorer that comes with Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Download Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7

New security and privacy features

To help give you more security and increased control over your privacy, Internet Explorer 10 includes:

  • InPrivate browsing – Use an InPrivate tab and Internet Explorer 10 will clear your cookies when you close the tab and will not store your passwords and webpage history.
  • Do Not Track – Send a signal to marketers and websites requesting them to not collect data that enables them to track you on the web.
  • Windows SmartScreen – Get help identifying known phishing and malware sites in order to make informed decisions about app downloads.

Learn more about the security and privacy features in Internet Explorer 10.