To Update or Not to Update?- The Software Update Dilemma

It’s easy to clamp your finger down on the “Remind me later” or “cancel” option on every system update that pops up on our PC screen. However, software updates are worth the time they consume, even though we may see them as a major inconvenience.

Because they do a lot more than we can give them credit for. Take your cyber security for one.

Most people don’t know this, but software updates help to create a balance between hackers and software programmers. Here’s the difference between a Programmer, Developer, and a Hacker.

With every new update, there’s a hack for it. This has always been the cat and mouse chase between the good and bad forces of the internet world, with the innocent users in the middle as the cheese.

Software updates help to strengthen system security.

Software updates help to get rid of old and out-of-date user features and replace them with new and better functioning ones. They also help to rid you of computer bugs you didn’t even know were existing right under your nose.

Why are software updates important?

Even though getting cool new features might be the most popular reason many users can identify software updates with, there are other magic tricks which they can perform in your computer system.

1. They help to get rid of those pesky system bugs.

System bugs are those errors or flaws that begin to make your computer behave defectively, or interfere with its overall performance, when they find their way into the computer program.

Computer bugs.

Every software inevitably has flaws and vulnerabilities, which hackers are always seeking to exploit and use to their utmost advantage. However, programmers continuously try to find ways to improve on those flaws and counter hacker strikes to help you get rid of such weaknesses.

See our Software Development Mantra for beginner developers to help keep your software development skills from getting rusty.

Which is why it’s important to perform software updates whenever the chance presents itself.

2. They help to enhance your computer’s compatibility with other devices.

Imagine using a Nokia torchlight phone while everyone else is using an iPhone. The world of difference between both devices will limit you as a user from experiencing the same privileges as an up-to-date mobile user.

Software updates are just like that. The more recent your software version is, the better your chances of connecting easily with other devices and sharing data.

Software updates are essential for device connectivity.

3. They also help to protect the people connected to you.

If you have a contagious infection and you come in contact with your friends, you would eventually spread it to them. Likewise, in a situation where your computer is networked with others and has a very loose sense of security.

It’s not that hard for hackers to steal information from your computer, and also from the other computers linked to yours. Or do even worse; infect all systems with a virus.

But before you panic, here are 18 ways to secure your devices from hackers.

Additionally, software updates can give you the fortification you need to keep them out, especially when you pair them with a strong antivirus.

What is the difference between software update and upgrade?

Imagine having to trek to work every day. Surely, you’ll tire out.

There’s only so much water you can drink to keep hydrated under the scorching sun before your body finally caves. Unless Christmas comes early enough and someone gives you a new bike or car.

This is an upgrade. A software upgrade takes you from one software version entirely to a whole new set up.

Software upgrade.

If you were using a software version 1.0.0, an upgrade catapults you straight up to a solid 2.0.0. But let’s say you weren’t gifted that car or that bike, and you got an umbrella instead, with a bigger water bottle to pair.

You’re still being subject to the same condition, but there’s a slight improvement. That’s what an update does for you.

It won’t change your software version completely. But rather, it would provide a slightly better patch up to make things easier for you.

So if you were at version 1.0.0 before, an update will take you up to a 1.0.1. Software updates are a lot more common than upgrades.

Woman running a software update.

Changing a whole software version is not the same as tweaking it just a little. It takes a necessarily longer time duration to be released.

Because an unstable upgrades like this Windows 10 upgrade can cause more problems for your system than you can imagine. Now, this all leads down to another concept; Auto-update.

What is it? what is its relationship with software updating and security boosting? And is it always necessary? Because if it’s not, why all those annoying notifications?

Understanding the auto-update feature.

An auto-update feature differs from that of manual updating because it allows you give a once-and-for-all permission to the computer system to perform or run software updates on your behalf. Whereas, the manual update feature would require you, the computer user, to search for, download and install the updates yourself.

And even though leaving your software to run an update on its own might seem like the perfect solution for ridding your computer of vulnerabilities, there’s still a question of if it’s always recommended.

Is it always wise to automatically update software?

Well, for starters:

  • An automatic software update can crash your system. Shocking much? Well, there’s more.
  • It doesn’t always completely give you an all clear from potential threats.

Getting a software update is undeniably a great idea. However, becoming a “beta tester” in the process is not always advisable, especially when you’re a Windows user with an incompatible system.

Some updates are untested and unstable. Some are bug ridden enough to send your computer down crash ville.

Computer crash.

And you don’t need to be a computer genius to know what that means for you; possible permanent loss of data and precious time, and maybe even worse.

Also, some special files and applications don’t always support auto-update features and would require you to manually update them. So, auto-updating won’t always do the complete clean job for you.

So, what then should you do?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to making a balanced decision when choosing to run a software update, which would mean:

  • Only performing updates when there’s a dire need for one. For example, when there’s a high potential security risk attached to not performing the update. If it ever comes to a choice between not updating and risking losing everything and an impromptu update, it’s better to go for the later.
  • When there are positive reviews from other computer users who have tested it out, even as cruel as it may seem to let others take the fall first. But hey! Better safe than sorry, right?

To cap it all, software updates are important. However, there’s no rush into it, no matter how pressured you may feel with all those pop-up notifications.

Just with the simple understanding that they are needed, and by applying the right timing in installing them, they shouldn’t be that much of a hassle.

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