Okay, look, I know that Windows is the operating system that most of you use. Fine. Who knew that 95 percent of the population was masochists?

But if you’re going to use Windows, please run Windows Update regularly! Microsoft periodically releases security updates and things like that which—if everybody installed them—would save everybody a lot of trouble.

You see, every once in a while a worm or virus will shoot around the internet and crash servers and invade PCs and slow down the web and otherwise annoy everybody. Often these attacks cause millions of dollars worth of damage (in the form of lost time, labor to fix computers, server downtime, etc.).

Right now, the Sasser worm is infecting people’s PCs, which then send the worm on to other PCs. The sheer magnitude of worm traffic is slowing down servers and making the entire internet slow for everybody who uses it—even those of us who use well-written, secure operating systems. Read about it from CNN.com [no longer available].

In this case, as in almost every other one, Microsoft has already released a patch that would’ve prevented this particular worm from doing its business. The only reason these things spread is because people aren’t doing their part and APPLYING THE FIXES.

In every version of Windows since Windows 98 (if I remember correctly), “Windows Update” is an option in the Start menu. If it isn’t, you can truck over to the Windows Update website. Just do what it says and install anything that comes up as a “critical update.” You can also use this system to update non-critical parts of the world’s predominant operating system, if you’re in to that kind of thing.

I’ll never understand why Microsoft didn’t just put some effort into programming Windows well in the first place, but as bad as Microsoft’s programmers are, at least they are generally releasing fixes before worms hit. It is your job, as the user, to install those fixes.