Why It’s Important To Install Software Updates

Is it necessary to install software updates for my operating system? The short answer: YES!

Software updates are important for a couple of reasons:

  1. Improved performance and stability of the applications on your computer, and
  2. Patches for security holes in old software.

This article is all about why you should install software updates, and when to install them.

Let’s get started!

Why Install Software Updates?

Installing software updates can be a time-consuming task. But it can save you time and money in the long run. How? Software updates have security patches for the holes in old software that hackers and malware know to look for. If you don’t install updates you’re making it easy for them to gain access to your computer. Once they’re inside they can remotely disable your antivirus, cancel software auto-updates, wipe out files, and steal your information. Stolen information is used to target people for scams. (For tips on how to recognize a scam, see Secure Online Banking.)  

Another great reason to install software updates is that they improve the functionality of the applications on your computer. Updates introduce new features, remove outdated features, and fix bugs that cause the software to behave in unintended ways.

When To Install Software Updates

There are a few reasons to delay updating your software (refer to the next section below), but otherwise I recommend installing software updates as soon as they’re available. Your computer should let you know when an update is available. If you get a software update pop-up at an inconvenient time, you can schedule it to install later. Or, if you haven’t seen a pop-up in a while, it’s a good idea to check for updates. You can check for MacOS updates in the Apple App store, and Microsoft updates can be found in your Settings.

MacOS

Current versions of MacOS will automatically update the operating system, and selected Apple Apps, with security updates if you enable the option. To enable the option, open System Preferences > Software Update. New versions of MacOS, (Mojave for example) are optional and don’t need to be installed. Updates are found in the App Store, and you’ll need to log in with your Apple ID to get all the updates.

Windows 10

Windows 10 will update automatically, and cannot be stopped, although some updates can be pushed before they install. To check for updates, select the Start button, go to Settings  > Update & Security > Windows Update, and select Check For Updates. If Windows Update says your device is up to date, you don’t need any updates.

Antivirus

It’s always a good idea to make sure your antivirus software is up to date because it gives real-time alerts when a security threat is detected. A good time to do this is when you’re updating your operating software. Security threats can come in the form of malware hidden in emails, files, or attachments. (For more on malware, see What To Do When You’ve Opened A WebPage That Might Be Bad News For Your Computer.)

Reasons To Delay Installing Software Updates

Sometimes installing a software update can interfere with the functionality of an application on your computer. Check before installing updates if any of the following apply to you:

  1. You’re running specialized software which must be verified with all updates before updating to ensure it will continue to work.
  2. You have special software which cannot be updated or it will be out of license obligations, or the level of update will take it outside the supported OS prerequisites.
  3. You are using older hardware, such as a printer/scanner or specialized network gear which cannot be updated or it will become unusable.

How Can I Help?

Take the time to install software updates. They help to prevent malware and hackers from gaining access to your computer, and they improve the functionality of the applications on your computer. It’s a win-win!

If you want help checking for software upgrades, or if I can help install them, contact me. I’m here to help!