Keeping operating systems & applications up to date

Keeping your systems and software up to date is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect patient information. Using the most current software reduces the likelihood that cybercriminals will exploit vulnerabilities on your computer system. 

Automatic updates

Enabling automatic updates is the easiest way to keep your operating systems and applications up to date. Automatic updates are enabled by default for most programs. If you do not receive update notifications, check your program’s settings, and enable them. Contact DTO if you need help finding the settings.


Windows 7 support ended on January 14th, 2020.

Both Windows 10 and 11 are currently supported operating systems that are appropriate for clinic use. Any clinics using Windows 7 or 8 should upgrade immediately to a professional or enterprise version of Windows 10 or 11. 


Apple typically provides security and stabilization updates for the most recent three operating system releases. Using a supported macOS is also important to ensure software and applications run properly on your Mac. After approximately 8-10 years, your Mac is likely no longer compatible with these supported operating systems, and you should consider upgrading your device. Information on how to keep your Mac up to date can be found on Apple’s website

Web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge) 

Web browsers update frequently, often indicated by a notification along the task bar. These updates often take a few minutes or less and allow you to conveniently relaunch your web-based work when done. DTO recommends completing browser updates as soon as they become available.

How do I check which operating system I have? 

Checking which operating system you have is straightforward on both Windows and Mac machines. 

For Windows users, follow the process outlined on Microsoft’s website

For Mac users, follow the process outlined on Apple’s website

How can I easily keep my OS up to date? 

Enabling automatic updates is the easiest way to be notified of updates as they become available. Checking for updates manually is straightforward on both Windows and Mac machines. For Windows users, follow the process outlined on Microsoft’s website

For Mac users, follow the process outlined on Apple’s website

Small and frequent updates to fix security or performance issues are common for operating systems and generally will not change the look and feel of your machine. 

Substantial upgrades (e.g. upgrading from Windows 7 to 10, or from macOS Catalina to Monterey) may change the look and feel of your machine. There may be special considerations to help ensure the transition goes smoothly. DTO recommends completing these upgrades with the support of an IT professional to minimize clinic disruption. 

Upgrading other clinic applications 

The need to upgrade a clinic application depends on whether it is cloud-based or locally installed. 

Cloud based applications do not require you to update them. Updates are managed by the company providing the service. Examples include web-based email and many Voice over IP services. 

Locally installed applications require you to keep the application updated on your machine much like your operating system. Examples may include Zoom, dictation software or accounting programs. 

Upgrading your PC to Windows 10 or 11


  • Ensure all of your data is backed up before upgrading PCs.
  • Have a contingency plan in case you need to halt the upgrade and continue using the old operating system temporarily.


  • Ensure your PC hardware meets or exceeds the recommended specifications.

  • Identify any new hardware that may be needed ahead of the transition, (e.g. printers, workstations).


  • Consider time and bandwidth needed for the initial upgrade of your PCs, plan to upgrade outside of business hours.

  • Upgrade using a hard-wired connection where possible. Upgrades over wireless are much slower.

  • Disable or remove any unnecessary software added automatically from the Windows 10 upgrade (e.g. free trial software, browser add-ons, Microsoft OneDrive).

  • Disable any unnecessary operating system features that became enabled during the upgrade.

Privacy & Security 

  • Check settings that share your personal data with other resources and limit to appropriate resources only.

  • Review all settings of new features introduced in Windows 10 to ensure they meet the privacy expectations of your practice.

  • Ensure operating system and anti-virus are scheduled to update regularly.


  • Choose the appropriate version of Windows 10; should be Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise for business use to support clinic security and privacy requirements.

  • Review any business-critical software requirements, including EMR, to ensure compatibility with Windows 10.

  • Identify any software or software updates that are needed ahead of the transition such as new drivers.


  • Test out Windows 10 ahead of time on a single workstation to understand the impact of changes for business-critical software and processes.

  • Plan training for staff if required to adapt to visual and process changes in the new operating system or related software.

The Doctors Technology Office is an initiative of the Family Practice Services Committee (FPSC), a joint partnership of Doctors of BC and the Government and BC.