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Security Tips

Windows Server Update Services

Beginning in April 2008, there will be a better way for Windows computer users to keep their Microsoft programs up to date. It's called "Windows Server Update Services" (WSUS); and it practically runs itself to update your Microsoft programs with the latest critical and security patches released by Microsoft. There is nothing you need to do to begin using this improved service. WSUS takes care of maintenance to Microsoft-supported versions of the Windows operating system and Office for Windows programs: Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Microsoft Windows programs will also be maintained if they are running on a Macintosh computer inside Parallels for Mac software.

Which Computers are and are not Supported by the WSUS Service?

Pepperdine faculty and staff Windows computers which Information Technology has “joined to the Pepperdine (network) domain” are supported. This "joining" function is one way that Information Technology protects the Pepperdine computer network by managing exactly which computers can log on to the network.

Computers of the following people are not supported by this new service because Information Technology has not "joined their computers to the Pepperdine (network) domain": all Pepperdine student computers, campus visitor computers, and employee home computers. These computers only use the Pepperdine network for a connection to the Internet. Users of these computers will continue to get their Microsoft patches the way they always have.

What Software is and is not Updated by the WSUS Service?

Updated by this Service

  • Operating Systems Updated by this Service
    • Windows 2000, Service Pack 4
    • Windows XP, Service Pack 2
    • Windows Vista
  • Office Suites Updated by this Service
    • Office XP for Windows
    • Office 2003 for Windows
    • Office 2007 for Windows
  • Microsoft Windows programs will also be maintained if they are running on a Macintosh computer inside Parallels for Mac software.

Not Updated by this Service

  • Operating Systems Not Updated by this Service
    • Apple Macintosh, all versions
    • Windows NT, all versions
    • Windows Me, all versions
    • Windows 98, all versions
    • Windows 95, all versions
    • Any version or variety of Unix or Linux
  • Office Suites Not Updated by this Service
    • Office for Macintosh, all versions
    • Office 2000 and earlier versions

How Does WSUS Work?

This is the same Microsoft Windows update service you have always been using. To you, it should look the same as always. There is nothing you need to do to begin using this improved service. The main difference is the Microsoft patches will come from a Pepperdine server instead of from the Microsoft Web site. The update service will work like this:

  1. When computer software updates are released by Microsoft, Information Technology personnel will download the appropriate critical and security patches to a Pepperdine computer server. We'll also download “service packs” which are more significant program updates. (Note: Whole new versions of software are not included in this service; nor were they included before.) There is no need for you to turn on any update capability or set a time of day for updating; in fact, that area of your computer will now be "greyed out."
  2. Every 8 hours (i.e., 3 times a day), WSUS will try to download the proper patches to your computer system (when you are logged on to the Pepperdine network). If you are not logged on to the network, WSUS will try to download the appropriate patches the next time you are logged on to the network.
  3. After patches have been downloaded to your computer system, the same gold shield as before will appear in your system tray which is located in the lower, right-hand corner of your screen. This indicates the patches are ready to be installed on your computer. When you see the gold shield and its accompanying bubble note, you may click on it to install the patches.
  4. If you do not click on the gold shield to install the patches by 3:00 p.m., the patches will be installed automatically at 3:00 p.m. This is done to prevent your computer from being susceptible to whatever harm the patches were protecting against.
  5. After patches have been installed on your computer that require your computer to be restarted (rebooted), you will receive a reminder every 15 minutes to reboot your computer. If you do not restart (reboot) your computer within one week of patch installation, it will be rebooted for you.

So you see that WSUS is pretty much the same process that we have always used to protect our networked computers from infection, and keep them from infecting other computers on our network and the Internet.