Software security updates
Security problems are often discovered in a wide range of software applications. In order to fix these problems software manufacturers typically make available a software security update that you can download and install. The most important variety of software security updates are those for your operating system, Microsoft Windows or macOS, for example. Instructions are provided below on how to obtain the updates for any Windows or macOS computer. The installation of these operating system updates is mandatory for computers connected to the College network.
For Windows computers that are connected to the main Trinity data network in offices and labs, Windows Updates are automatically deployed each month by IT Services. We use Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to manage these automatic updates, and there is more information on SCCM below.
Note that software updates are periodically also made available for individual applications, such as Office 365, Adobe Acrobat Reader and more, and it is always advised that you enable or run any update features within your applications to ensure the security of your device. For staff and students using Office 365 Pro Plus, feature updates are automatically installed twice per year, in January and July, meaning you may notice a change in the appearance and options within Office 365 applications at those points of the year.
As part of the terms and conditions of connection to the teaching and research network, and to help keep your data and College systems secure, all Windows PCs connected to the teaching and research network in College offices and labs, and on Staff Wi-Fi, are required to install the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Agent to allow IT Services to automatically deploy the required security updates. This also includes PCs setup to work on the Staff VPN service.
Instructions on how to install the SCCM Agent can be found below. You should also read through the subsequent information on how the Windows Updates process works, both for monthly updates and for Windows 10 version updates.
Installing the SCCM Agent
- 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.
- In the 'Run' dialog box, beside 'Open:' type the following and click OK:
The installation process is 'silent', meaning that you will see no dialog boxes. It can take about 5-10 minutes to complete the installation.
Monthly Windows Updates & Windows 10 Version Updates - How it Works
- Windows Updates are automatically deployed by IT Services through SCCM on a monthly basis, starting on the third Monday of the month, but there may be occasions when an emergency update needs to be deployed outside of this timeframe.
When the monthly updates are made available to your PC, there is a strict installation deadline of 4pm the following business day. You may choose to start the installation yourself at any point prior to this deadline. If you wait until the deadline has passed, then the installation will proceed automatically in the background. Once the installation is complete you will be notified that a restart is required in order to complete the installation and this process normally takes no more than 5 to 10 minutes. For monthly updates this restart is not enforced, meaning you can choose when to restart.
- In addition to the monthly updates, Microsoft releases new 'versions' of Windows 10 twice per year. At least once per year IT Services will use SCCM to automatically install the Windows 10 version update on each PC connected to the main Trinity data network.
The first phase of the installation process of the version update is 'silent' and does not disrupt the use of your PC, however once this phase of the installation process is complete you will be prompted to Restart your PC, and will be provided with a 2-hour or 4-hour deadline at which point the PC will restart automatically. The restart is required in order to ensure the complete installation of the version update and there is no way to avoid this enforced restart.
With that in mind, you are advised to save your data and restart your PC as soon as possible when prompted. Note that in comparison to the monthly updates, the completion of the Windows 10 version update can be time-consuming, taking anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 hours, or even longer on older PCs and leaving the PC unusable during this time. Please see our information below on how to check if a pending update is a monthly update or a Windows 10 version update.
Monthly Windows Updates & Windows 10 Version Updates - What You Will See
- When an update is made available to your PC you will initially see a brief pop-up notification at the bottom right of your screen, indicating that 'Software changes are required'.
- To proceed to install the updates you may click on this pop-up message, and this will open a Software Center box listing information about 'software changes'. If you do not wish to install the updates immediately then the pop-up will disappear after approximately 5-10 seconds. After this you can access the Software Center box by clicking the icon show below on your taskbar, and then selecting View Required Software. Alternatively, you can wait until the installation deadline has passed, at which point the software installation will begin automatically.
How to check if the pending update is a monthly update or a Windows 10 version update
If you wish to check if the pending update is a monthly update, which usually takes 5-10 minutes to install, or one of the Windows 10 version updates which can take much longer, then click the Start button, type Software Center and click on the search result to launch that app. When the Software Centre launches, choose Updates on the left and you will see the list of pending updates. If any of the listed items start with 'Feature Update...' then this indicates one of the required updates is the Windows 10 version update, meaning your computer may be unusable for between 30 mins and 2 hours or more after it restarts.
- 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 enforced installation will take place, if you do not choose to start it sooner. You will then have options to start the installation 'Right now' or 'Outside my business hours' or to 'Snooze' and have this prompt automatically reappear at a later point of up to 2 hours - note that you cannot Snooze past the listed installation deadline.
- For the Windows 10 version updates, whether you start the installation yourself or wait until the installation deadline to pass, you will be provided with a notification of when the enforced restart of your computer will take place. As outlined above, the restart is required in order to complete the successful installation of the updates, helping to make sure your computer and data are secure.
You will be provided with a 4-hour or 2-hour countdown to the enforced restart and can choose to restart yourself at any point. With 1 hour remaining, this notification will remain on screen so that it is obvious that the restart is pending and there is no way to postpone this restart.
Please follow the instructions for your operating system below in order to run Windows Updates.
**If you are using a PC that is connected to the main Trinity network in offices and labs then please follow the instructions listed above in the section titled 'Using SCCM to get Automatic Windows Updates for computers on main Trinity data network and VPN'. Setting up your PC to obtain automatic updates via the SCCM service will ensure you receive Windows Updates which have been tested prior to being made available by IT Services.
- Click the Start button (Windows icon) and choose Settings
- Click Update & security
- Click the blue link 'Check online for updates from Microsoft Update' and install the listed updates.
- 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.
- Move your cursor to the bottom left of the screen until you see the Start icon
- Right-click on the Start icon and choose Control Panel
- Search for Windows Update using the search box at the top right of the Control Panel
- Click Check for Updates and install the listed updates
- 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.
Please see the information on Apple's website on how to install software updates for macOS.
If you don't see an expected update(s):
- Install all updates that are available, then check for updates again. Some updates appear only after installing other updates, and some updates are part of other updates. For example, updates for Safari don't appear, because you get them as part of macOS updates.
- Use the Search field in the toolbar to search for the app that you want to update.
- Click Purchased in the toolbar to see which apps you got from Mac App Store. If you got an app from somewhere else, check with the maker of the app for updates.
Non-Compliant Computers & Removal from Network
Computers which are running older, unsupported operating systems, or which fail to have the required operating system updates installed, or which do not have the required anti-virus software installed, may be disconnected from the network as an IT security measure.