automatic software updating

Automatic software updating seems like a no-brainer—no more annoying pop up windows bugging you to restart your computer to get the latest version of the programs you’re always using. But automatic updates come at a cost as well, like unwanted downtime or a new set of bugs and issues to deal with.

Updating your software is critical for extending the life of your technology, but do you put the control in your hands or the hands of your computer? We break down the pros and cons of automatic software updating for you below:

Pros:

  • Stay updated with the latest protection and technology

Programs are updated for a reason. In the ever-changing world of technology, it’s important to stay on top of these critical updates to make sure everything runs smoothly. Updating software quickly also keeps your computer protected from hackers and addresses any potential security threats.

  • Fix existing bugs

It’s inevitable that your software will experience some bugs, which is why software updates are so frequent. Most of the updates are not too noticeable from a UX standpoint, which is one of the major benefits of automatic software updating. Why not just fix the problem once the remedy is available

  • Don’t have to think about updating

The most obvious advantage of updating your software automatically is that you don’t have to think about it. Instead of getting inundated with pop ups and reminders, you could work uninterrupted with automatic updates.

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Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to automatic software updating. Here are some of the reasons why you should not utilize this feature.

Cons:

  • Likelihood for new bugs/issues

While updates are meant to fix issues with bugs, inevitably, the newer version ends up having problems of its own. These new issues are usually sorted within the first week or so of its launch, so waiting a little bit might avoid some bugs.

  • Could slow down computer

Updates typically require a restart or some other interruption, which can be rather inconvenient during the work day. Turning off automatic software updating would enable you to choose the optimal time for the updates (i.e. after business hours) so that you won’t be bothered.

So… Should you use automatic software updating?

Unless there is a mitigating consideration such as an incompatibility with a piece of business critical software (which should be updated as soon as possible, so you can then update), you should always keep your computer up to date despite the risks. The assumption is that if there are additional bugs created by the update, that the vendor will (eventually) fix them.  Otherwise, you just have a large(r) attack surface for malicious people and software.  

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If you’re interested in changing your updating preferences, here’s how to do it through Windows and OS X.

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