Software updates

Updating software is essential with computing. Not only does it allow you to use new possible features, but many times it patches security vulnerabilities with the software. Most software programs have built in updaters, but if you’re like me, you’ve turned off the updaters to save bandwidth and startup time. Keep in mind that by doing this, you are now relying on yourself to check for these updates manually. For most programs, such as Adobe Reader, Flash, Java, all browsers, and anti-virus programs, I simply check FileHippo.com for the latest version. FileHippo.com makes it easy for you find the latest versions of these programs (and many others) and download them for your updates. It’s important to notw that when it comes to your anti-virus and anti-malware programs, FileHippo.com will only have the updates for the base program, not the virus definitions. I generally set myself a reminder to check this site once a month to update these programs. Something to be aware of with software updates is that some programs don’t uninstall their old counterparts. Java is notorious for this. The problem is that the old versions of Java remain after updates, which take up space and leave security vulnerabilities wide open. Adobe Reader used to be bad about that, however, they have come-to and started removing previous versions. From what we’ve seen, Adobe Reader will not remove versions older than v.7, so be sure to look through your Add/Remove Programs for any stragglers. For Windows, I turn off the automatic updater. Not only is the Windows updater a bandwidth hog, but it is also an annoyance. By default, Windows 7 with download and install all new updates without your permission. Once the install is finished, it will generally prompt you to restart. This usually happens when you’re watching a movie or in the middle of writing that important document. I set my Windows updates to download and install manually. And I usually check for updates monthly. I do this in conjunction with all the other software updates. I do use my computer still while updating, but I am aware that a restart will be coming soon, so I work on non-essential things, such as my saved game of Spider Solitaire.