Computers should update automatically, right? Usually, yes. But sometimes users choose not to install updates—whether on purpose or out of ignorance (or both). It may seem safer to delay installing updates in the short term. After all, it’s not like you’ll know if something goes wrong after you don’t update your computer, right?
The truth is, updating your software isn’t that big of a deal, especially when you realize how big of a deal NOT doing it really is.
Security patches to keep you safe
Software creators have spent a lot of time and effort to ensure that their applications are as secure, stable, and efficient as possible. They upload these new versions once or even several times each week. And you can easily check for these available updates from within an application itself.
For example, to check if you’re running the latest version of Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.
Security intelligence updates for Microsoft Defender Antivirus (built into Windows 10 and 11) are issued almost every day and will update in the background without the user even realizing it.
New features and enhancements
Sometimes new features in software updates can make it easier for you to use the program or get more out of it. Or perhaps there’s a new feature that makes using the program more efficient or enjoyable.
The following are some examples of new features or enhancements you might find in a software update:
- A new feature that lets you save files to cloud storage services such as Dropbox or Google Drive
- An updated version of an image editor with new filters and effects
- An easier way to perform a task using your smartphone
Ensure compatibility with new software
If your machine won’t run the latest version of a certain software you use, there can be a couple of reasons why.
First, the software might require a newer operating system than the one you are currently using. If a new version of the software you use requires a newer operating system than what you are currently using, it will not work. The only option is to upgrade your machine’s operating system so that it can run the latest version of the software.
Second, if the software won’t run on your computer because of outdated hardware, the only choice you have is to physically upgrade your computer itself. Depending on how demanding the software is, you might need more RAM, a newer-generation CPU, or a dedicated GPU to run it.
Software providers will only be supporting newer versions of their software
Software companies release new versions of their programs all the time, and they stop supporting older versions after a certain period of time. This is referred to as end-of-support or service (EOS).
You’ll get security updates, bug fixes, and other improvements if you’re running the latest version of your favorite programs, but if you’re still using an old version, you won’t get any support at all. For example, Windows 11 was released by Microsoft in 2021 and the end-of-support date for Windows 10 is scheduled for October 14, 2025.
It's usually very easy and it's free
Updating software doesn’t cost anything most of the time. Most programs have an option to automatically update themselves, so you don’t even need to click on anything! If you want more control over how often updates are installed, you can always disable automatic updates and check for updates manually
Sometimes, a manufacturer will discontinue a program and replace it with something newer. Chances are, you will be notified if this happens and they will continue to support the old version (legacy version) to give you ample time to switch over.
Updating your computer software is definitely something you don’t want to put off, whether it be for security purposes or simply to keep the device running smoothly. In short, don’t wait around: take care of it sooner rather than later.