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Software security updates

The Windows and macOS operating systems, regularly release software updates to keep their systems as secure as possible.

Instructions on how you can get these updates, and thus keep your device running smoothly and securely, are provided below.

macOS updates

For information about how to check for and install software updates on macOS, please refer to the Apple website.

Windows updates

The Windows updates can be categorised into two areas:

  • Monthly Windows updates
    • Can take 5 - 20 minutes and may require a restart
  • Windows 10 version upgrade
    • Can take 30 minutes up to 2+ hours and may require several restarts

These updates can be done one of two ways:

* The Software Center application is not available on the TCDconnect and Internet Connect networks.

The preferred method of receiving updates is via the Software Center application.

Automatic Windows updates via the Software Center

The Software Center uses what's known as Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (MECM) to roll out updates.

The benefits of using the Software Center (MECM) are:

  • Updates are managed and automatically deployed by IT Services - you don't have to do anything
  • IT Services will test all updates before deploying them

If your Windows computer is part of the College network*, then you must have the Software Center application installed on your computer.

* Does not apply to computers on the TCDconnect and Internet Connect networks.

How can I check if I have the Software Center application installed?

To check if the Software Center application is installed on your computer:

  • On the left end of the taskbar, click the Start icon.
  • Type, Software Center

If you see the following result, then you have the software installed.

If you don't see it, refer to Installing the Software Center (MECM) application

How the Software Center works

The process by which the Software Center carries out its updates, differs based on if it's a monthly Windows update or a Windows 10 version upgrade.

How to check if an update is a Monthly Windows update or a Windows 10 version upgrade

Overview

In general, once we've finished testing them, monthly Windows updates are sent out automatically via the Software Center, starting on the third Monday of the month, to batches of computers over the course of the next seven working days. There may be occasions when an emergency update needs to be deployed outside of this timeframe.

When the updates show up on your computer, they must be installed by 4 pm, the following business day.

You can install the updates before the enforced deadline or postpone them to keep working.

If you wait until the deadline has passed, then the installation will proceed automatically in the background.

Once an update has been installed, you will see a notification that a restart is required. If a restart has not happened before the 4 pm deadline time, you will be provided with a 4-hour countdown, at the end of which, an automatic restart of the computer will happen.

Once this restart countdown begins, it cannot be postponed, extended or cancelled by you or IT Services.

You can choose to manually restart the computer at any point during the countdown or wait for the countdown to finish, at the end of which the automatic restart will happen.

If you plan to leave the computer on and let it restart automatically, you are advised to save your data and close all open applications. If using a laptop, please ensure it is plugged in.

A 'restart' normally takes between 5 and 20 minutes.

What you'll see

When an update is made available to your computer you will see a pop-up notification at the bottom right of your screen, indicating that 'Software changes are required'.

To proceed with the updates, you can click on this pop-up message. This will open a Software Center application and list information about the software changes.

  • If you ignore the pop-up message, it will disappear after approximately 5 - 10 seconds.
  • To access the Software Center application again, click the Software Center icon (shown below) in your taskbar and then click View Required Software.

    MECM icon

  • Alternatively, you can wait until the installation deadline has passed, at which point the software installation will begin automatically.

If you choose to start the installation process yourself, as outlined above, then the following options will be provided.

  • You will first see a deadline of when the update will take place - should you do nothing.
  • If you would like to control when the process begins, you will have the following options:
    • Right now (recommended): This will start the process straight away.
    • Outside my business hours: This will allow you to schedule the update to begin at a time of your choosing; provided it is not past the installation deadline.
    • Snooze and remind me later: This will delay the update for up to 2 hours. You won't be able to 'Snooze' past the enforced installation deadline.



Once the updates have been installed on your computer, you will see a notification that a restart is required.

If the computer has not been restarted before the 4 pm deadline time, then a 4-hour countdown to an automatic restart will appear on the screen.

The restart notification window can be 'Snoozed' and minimised for the first three hours of the countdown.

During the final hour of the countdown, the notification window cannot be 'Snoozed' or minimised.

Once the countdown completes the computer will be restarted automatically so make sure to save any outstanding work.

Overview

Microsoft releases a new 'version' of Windows 10 once per year.

At least once per year, IT Services will use the Software Center to automatically install these upgrades on each computer connected to the network.

The first phase of the process appears as a notification of critical software maintenance. This notification includes an installation deadline.

You can elect to install before the enforced deadline or postpone it to keep working.

Once the initial install completes, you will be prompted with a 2-hour countdown to restart.

There is no way to avoid this enforced restart. You can restart at any point before the countdown runs out.

With that in mind, you are advised to save your data and restart your computer as soon as possible when prompted.

Note that in comparison to the monthly updates, the completion of the Windows 10 version upgrade can be time-consuming, taking anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 hours, or even longer on older computers and leaving the computer unusable during this time.

If you're using a laptop, please ensure it is plugged in during the upgrade process.

What you'll see

For the Windows 10 version upgrades, once it deployed to your computer you will see an initial notification popup like this:

The time and date of the installation deadline is written in bold (as above) with a warning of the duration of the installation.

At this stage you can select one of three options:

  1. Right now (recommended)

    You can choose to install straightaway and not wait for the installation deadline. If you decide to choose this option, you will get a further pop-up window to confirm this.

    Again, you are warned that the device will be non-useable for the duration, which may take a few hours.

    If you click install, the install process will begin.

  2. Outside my business hours

    You can set the installation to begin outside your set business hours, provided it's not the day of the installation deadline itself.

    For example, if you see the deployment notification at 10am on a Monday and the deadline is 4pm the next day (Tuesday), then if you select 'outside my business' hours on the Monday, it will automatically install that evening or overnight.

    You can configure your business hours by clicking on the options item in the left-hand menu of the in Software Center. The default is set to 5.00am - 10.00pm: Monday to Friday, but you can change this.

  3. Snooze and remind me later

    You can use this option to set a reminder to pop up at a later stage, before the deadline time. The options available are 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours and Later

    The Later option sets the notification window to pop up again depending on how close it is to the scheduled time. If it is less than 24 hours it will pop up again in an hour, if its less than an hour to the scheduled time it will pop up again in 10 mins.

Whether you start the installation yourself or wait for the installation deadline to pass, you will be provided with a notification of the initial install.

Once this is complete, you will then receive a notification of when the enforced restart of your computer will take place.

A restart is required to complete the installation of the upgrade.

You will be provided with a 2-hour countdown to the enforced restart time.

This is to allow you to complete and save any outstanding work. You can choose to restart yourself at any point during the countdown or wait for the countdown to complete at which stage it will auto restart your computer.

Once restarted, the computer will restart itself several times over the period of the upgrade.

Installing the Software Center (MECM) application

If attempting the following steps from off-campus, you will need the VPN service connected for the duration of the process.

  1. Launch the Windows 'Run' dialog box by holding down the Windows key on the keyboard and hitting R, or by choosing Run from the Start menu.
  2. In the 'Run' dialog box, beside 'Open:' type the following and click OK:

    \\ntserver-usr\PCSoftware\SCCM_Client_Current\ccmsetup.exe

The installation process is 'silent', meaning that you will see no dialog boxes. It can take about 5 - 20 minutes to complete the installation.

After 20 minutes, to allow the installation complete, please follow these steps to help ensure the PC checks in with our MECM system and gets its updates in the future:

  • Right-click on the Start button, choose Run, type control panel and click OK.
  • Towards the top right, beside View by: choose Small icons.
  • Click Configuration Manager and choose the Actions tab.
  • Select Discovery Data Collection Cycle (or if it's not listed, select any of the others items) and click Run Now.

Check if an update is a monthly Windows update or a Windows 10 version upgrade

If you wish to check if the pending update is a monthly Windows update, which usually takes 5 - 20 minutes to install, or one of the Windows 10 version upgrades which can take much longer, then click the Start button, type Software Center and click on the search result to launch the application.

  • Monthly Windows updates will appear under the Updates section on the left.
  • Windows 10 version upgrades will appear under the Operating Systems section on the left. Installation of these upgrades means your computer may be unusable for between 30 mins and 2 hours or more after it restarts.

Manually install Windows updates

The below instructions will show you how to manually install Windows updates on Windows 10 and Windows 8.1.

  1. On the left end of the taskbar, click the Start icon.
  2. Type, Settings
  3. Click Update & Security
  4. Click the blue link 'Check online for updates from Microsoft Update' and install the listed updates.

    Screenshot of link Check online for updates from Microsoft Update

  5. You may need to repeat these steps after installing the first set of updates, so repeat steps 1-3 until there are no further updates available.

  1. On the left end of the taskbar, click the Start icon.
  2. Right-click on the Start icon and click Control Panel.
  3. Search for Windows Update using the search box at the top right of the Control Panel.
  4. Click Check for Updates and install the listed updates.
  5. You may need to re-run the 'Check for Updates' after installing the first set of updates, so repeat steps 1-4 until there are no further updates available. Even when the system reports 'No more important updates', this can be is misleading, so click on this message and choose 'Get more info' and you may see there are further updates listed.

Non-compliant computers and removal from the network

Computers doing any of the following items may be disconnected from the network as an IT security measure.

  • Running older, unsupported operating systems
  • Failing to have the required operating system updates installed
  • Failing to have the required anti-virus software installed