Importance of Software Updates

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Every piece of software on your computer at this time has probably been upgraded in some way to provide better features, problem area (bug) fixes and possibly security enhancements. It's important to keep a lookout for new versions of your current software from time to time so that you can receive changes like these and improve your everyday computing use. It generally takes only a few minutes, and most modern programs have update systems that prompt you when new updates are available, so it's easy for any type of user.

Definition

  • Software updates (sometimes known as "Patches" or "Service Packs") are computing data that improve usability, performance, and security vulnerabilities within a piece of pre-existing software. Releasing software to the public is a system that involves planning new software updates every so often (be it per month, week, or year) for new content and changes to the current software being used by the public.

Built-In Software Updates

  • The most prominent source of software updates today comes directly from your operating system. In the case of the Macintosh operating system, a program named Software Update comes pre-installed on all Macs and will prompt the user every few weeks to update Apple-specific software such as iTunes. This program can also be installed on Windows-based machines looking for updates on Apple products for that operating system as well. Windows-based computers also come with a Microsoft-specific software update program, most commonly known as the "Security Updater," found in the Control Panel. Both these programs check for updates for the specific operating system (i.e. Windows XP or Mac OS 10.5) updates, including security fixes, as well as application changes.

Third-Party Software Updates

  • If you download a computer application from the web, it may have a version associated with it (i.e. Version 1.2.5) or something to that effect. These numbers represent the number of software updates made to the application. It is important to update to new versions of downloaded third-party software for bug fixes, enhancements and possible new features. Unlike the operating system update programs, these applications may come with an auto-update prompt, a menu to check for updates, or just rely on the user to find new updates themselves online. In this way these applications are harder to update but should be checked on by the user every couple weeks.

Non-Computer Software Updates

  • Some other electronic devices, such as MP3 players, video game systems and cell phones, also can have software updates for the same reasons as computer-based software. Many modern video gaming systems have a built-in updating system that connects to the Internet and is able to download and install updates without any computer necessary. MP3 players and cell phones generally rely on the user to download new patches to their computer and connect the device to update.

Necessity and Importance

  • The best reason to update software is to get the best performance from your computer, gaming system or other device. By keeping software updated it shows that you have interest in the application and keeps developers interested in developing said application further. Many people still have trouble with updating software themselves, but solutions are being created to this day to manage updates in an easier fashion to keep users on board with the latest and greatest ideas. Take a look at what software you use day to day, and check if it has been updated recently to see if you might have some changes that could affect your computing from now on. Most of all, software updates are a necessity for an ever-changing environment of new technologies available today. Keeping up with updated software means you have the best resources at your disposal as well as the newest ideas brought to you in your favorite computer applications and programs.

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