We’ve all seen them. Those little reminders that pop up on your computer or phone screen letting you know that a new update for your operating system is available. Sure, it’s tempting to ignore those reminders and keep going about your business. But ignoring those reminders indefinitely can lead to software glitches and security threats.
What is an operating system?
An operating system is basically the brains of a computer. It’s software that manages everything from the computer’s memory and processes, software, and hardware. It also allows you to give the computer commands without having to know a bunch of complicated code. Without an operating system, the only thing your computer is good for is collecting dust.
Most computers and smart devices come preloaded with its own operating system software. The three most common desktop operating systems are Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux. If you own a Mac computer, you’re already familiar with macOS. Linux is primarily used on supercomputers. Windows comes preloaded on most personal computers, making it one of the more popular operating systems in the market. Mobile devices operate on their own operating systems, such as Apple iOS and Google Android.
As time goes by and technology and security threats change, it’s important for an operating system to adapt accordingly. The first version of Windows released in the 1980’s would be woefully inadequate if you tried to run it on a brand-new laptop. Software companies release new versions of their operating systems every few years, such as the case with the release of Microsoft’s Windows 11 this year. However, a lot can happen in between the release of one version to the next. Instead of releasing a totally new operating system every month, software companies release patches. These are smaller bits of software, or updates, that address problems or vulnerabilities within the program.
Why You Should Keep Your Operating System Up-to-Date
Sure, it can be a bit of a hassle to stop what you’re doing to update your software. But it’s nothing compared to the headache of dealing with lost data, important documents, or your identity. Here are five reasons why you need to install that new update now:
It repairs software bugs.
While software developers test and retest their updates before releasing them to the public, they can’t predict everything. Sometimes bugs, glitches, or flaws in the program don’t reveal themselves until they are being used in the real world. When that happens, developers release an update to fix the problem.
Your device will run better.
Is your device running slower than normal? If you’re trying to run the latest version of an app with outdated software, the system may not be able to keep up.
You will be more protected from cyber-attacks.
Cybercriminals make it their business to know and exploit the weaknesses in outdated software. By keeping your software up-to-date, you are closing those loops and preventing future viruses and malware attacks.
It protects your important information.
Think about all the important and personal information stored on your computer and phone right now. Imagine how you would feel if a complete stranger somehow gained access to it all – passwords, account numbers, email. Software updates ensure that your personal information stays personal.
You get access to new features.
Sometimes an update includes fun stuff, like cool new features and design elements. But if you don’t update, you’ll never get them.
The next time a software update notification pops up, don’t groan in annoyance while you minimize the window. Instead, whisper a private “thank you,” click update, or set a reminder to update at a more convenient time in the near future. A few minutes of inconvenience could save you hours, days, weeks or even years of headache down the road.