VOL. 131 | NO. 195 | Thursday, September 29, 2016
To Update or Not to Update?
BY PATRICK TAMBURRINO, Special to The Daily News
At some point, most of us have felt the need to be up-to-date with the newest technology. Smartphone makers and software developers alike pressure us regularly to download updates for an app’s latest version or enhanced security. But it’s important to be strategic in how we choose to handle these updates instead of making impulse decisions.
We’re told to be concerned about online privacy and cybersecurity, yet many of us don’t actually pay attention to security alerts for updates, both in the workplace and on personal devices. In fact, people ignore software security warnings up to 90 percent of the time, according to a new study from Brigham Young University. This can be a good and bad habit for a number of reasons.
For starters, many users don’t know that there are several notable differences between an update and an upgrade. Updates are usually free and are designed to apply small, minor changes to your existing system. They resolve bugs or glitches within the program and sometimes add better functionality. On the other hand, upgrades entail the existing program being uninstalled and replaced with a completely new one. Upgrading software takes significantly longer and the file size is typically much bigger.
So how do you know if the update (or upgrade) is worth it? Here’s some food for thought for the next time you’re on the fence.
1. Know the lingo. There are operating systems (OS) – MacOS, Windows 10, Windows Server, Android, ChromeOS – and there are applications – Microsoft Office Suite, Chrome Browser, Internet Explorer. OS upgrades will always affect everything on the system because it is the core of the system. For instance, if you download the newest Windows 10, your I.T. department may have to reinstall some of the supporting applications because the entire app suite has been upgraded. But if you update Microsoft Office, it likely won’t affect other programs on the computer unless they’re tied together for synchronization purposes.
2. See what others are saying. Depending on how old your OS is, check online to see if the specifications are compatible with your system. An upgrade could fix one problem on your software but simultaneously conflict with another function.
3. Don’t be the first to download the update or upgrade. First releases are notoriously full of bugs and problems. By waiting, you can learn from others whether the change was worth it and why. Ask yourself: Is this worth potentially setting me back for a couple of months, or can I just wait a bit longer and make sure I am migrating to a more stable version?
4. Check with I.T. first. Users shouldn’t do updates or upgrades without the proper approval from their I.T. department. If it’s a personal device, follow the previous steps before deciding to take the plunge. Look at the features in the new system ahead of time and get a presales call going if you have questions.
Patrick Tamburrino, the president of IT strategy, support and management firm tamburrino inc., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.