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Wednesday
Dec072011

What software updates do you really need?

Ever boot up you computer to get some work done and before you can get started a window pops up asking to update a program? So why is it important to update software on my computer? And can updating be easier and less of a hassle?

Here are a few factors of computers for you to consider to help you understand and better handle software updates. First the system and programs need updates to fix problems with themselves, to add new features, and most importantly to keep you computer secure. Next what parts of the system and what programs are key to update. And lastly how to cut down on the announce of updates, and manage this part of computer maintenance as hassle free as possible.

So why do we need to update? Modern systems and programs that we have on our computers are very complicated with main lines of code in order to complete their many functions. Also these program interact with other programs, the system, system resources, and the network. Programmers spend lots of time testing their programs in different environments before release to code for our us. But until many users use the program on their setup the program is not really tested in the real world. So many problems (bugs) are not found until after the program is released. The programers take the bug reports from the users to improve, fix, and stabilize their code then release an update or patch to their program or OS.

As other programs are released with new features or request from users come in programers can choose to add new functions or features to their original program and release that as an update. Most of the time if the programer thought that the new feature was worth the time to develop an update for, it will be a feature that most of the users will want and fine useful, but not all of the time. Also an update cycle evolves over time to fix the new bugs that come about from adding the new features. How long the programer or devoloper is willing to devolop updates for the original program is the support life.

The critical factor to modern computing is security. And the only way to even to start to keep a system secure is through updates. Originally Windows and Mac OS were designed to work and provide a platform for programs to run and use the computer hardware, then as technology advanced many features were added. Programs became much more complex.

And then the Internet was slowly introduced. Through much trial and error, systems were created to allow computers to talk and interact with each other. Throughout this development of personal computers and the internet it was only lately the last 4-5 years has work been done to secure these systems. And only in the last little while have the programers made serious gains in keeping ours systems secure. It has been proven very difficult to secure computers, and more often than what would be liked programers only know about and release updates after code is being exploted. So it is critical to keep our personal data and identity safe to keep our system and programs updated.

The key areas of our computer to keep updated are the core operating system. So run Windows update or Apple update and make sure all these updates install. Next is the web browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari and any add-ons, plug-ins, and Flash installed. Then any programs that require Internet or network access, and security programs. And finally all other programs that are installed.

The best way to manage computer updates and to cut down on the hassle is to create a maintance system for yourself. Try to make it simple and easy on yourself as possible. There are a few things you can do to cut down on the maintance needed. Install as few programs as possible. If you don't need a program or don't use it often uninstall it. Same goes for add-ons and such; you will have less to do and your system will run better. For security use a browser such as FireFox and Chrome. Use more secure alternate programs to the standard programs; ie FoxIt Reader instead of Adobe Reader. Your maintenance should include backing up personal and program data.

Most programs today have an automatic update system that they can run to update themselves. When selecting to programs you are going to install and use make sure the programs have automatic updates and a long support life. Often a short investment in configuring a program's and system's automatic updates can eliminate most of the future hassle deal with that program's or systems update's.

Create a schedule Windows has a system schedule program that will update programs for you. Most programs need only months updates, so pick one day a month for your computer maintance and setup the scheduler and programs all to update on that one day. It is a good time for a monthly backup also. Once the schedule has been configured all that should be required from you is to check the update log the night of that day to make sure everything is running smooth. Some programs will need to be updated more often, but it should be a small number and if a programs is always asking to be updated and you can live without the program just uninstall it.

Good news is programers are finally learning how to develop their programs so the hassle the user less and generally getting a better handle on security. Read more about best practices to keep you your computer secure. Thanks for read and I hope these post are helpful to you.

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