We’ve all been there, a reminder to upgrade pops up and we click ‘remind me later’, over and over again until we either give in or are forced to upgrade.


But should you upgrade your operating system every time the option arises?

The first thing to consider when thinking about upgrading your operating system (OS) is how old your device is. If you have a newer device that is running well, is under two years old and you’re using it mostly for recreational use then you have little to worry about, except for updating your settings. So go ahead and click ‘update’ so long as you have the time to spare.

If you have an older device that’s three years or older, then perhaps consider thinking twice before clicking the ‘upgrade now’ button unless you have backed up your hard drive first, as sometimes older devices can struggle with the update. If you have problems updating then it’s important to get to the source of the problem by contacting your provider and using a technical support service.

If you’re using your device for business then seriously consider whether now is the best time to upgrade or not. Upgrades can take a while and there are often tweaks that need to be made to settings post upgrade. These could cost you valuable time, so it’s recommended to back everything up first and to commence with the upgrade outside of working hours. If your workplace has a dedicated IT department then it may be best to take the device to them to be updated so that they can ensure the installation is successful. Be aware that in some companies it is mandatory to have all devices up to date for security reasons. You may be breaching company policy if you fail to do so.

But why should you update at all?

Updating your OS system is actually quite important and you could be putting yourself and your device at risk by ignoring them for too long. OS updates often include amendments to the code that keep your device safe from hackers and if an upgrade has been released it could be a sign that the developers have realised a flaw that hackers are exploiting. If your OS is very old then think about how many years hackers have had access to the code in order to find all the holes in it.

Another reason to consider updating is that sometimes you may encounter difficulties opening certain files or using certain systems if your operating system is very out of date.

How long will an update take?

How long is a piece of string? Sadly it’s hard to put an exact figure on the amount of time it will take to install an update, as there are so many variables that can affect this figure. For example; the speed of your internet connection, the age of your device, the size of the update, the type of device you have etc. etc. Because the update time can be so varied it’s recommended that you install updates at a time when you can afford to be off your device for a while — there will also be so many new features to explore so you’ll want to factor in time to play with them too.

How do you know if it’s time to update?

One of the most obvious signs that it’s time to consider an update is when your computer starts running slowly or freezing up. A simple reinstall or update of your OS will often fix this issue.

Another reason to think about updating is if your provider no longer offers technical support for your OS. One example of this is when Microsoft stopped offering technical support for Windows XP. When technical support stops it leaves your device at an increased risk from hackers and viruses. If your OS is so outdated that technical support is being revoked it’s definitely time to look at an update for security reasons.

Finally, as mentioned previously, if certain Apps or software are no longer compatible with your OS you will begin struggling to complete certain tasks and your device will slowly become useless. A simple update will solve these issues and you will have full use of all the latest Apps and software.

Conclusion

With strengthened security, better technical support and an increased compatibility with new programmes all coming as a benefit of updating your operating system, it may be worth considering not skipping those update reminders. Just be sure to update your device at a sensible time and to ensure all your files are backed up prior to doing so. If updating is still too intimidating then contact your OS provider for support. Or if using a work device then utilise your workplace IT department.

Image by Marijn Hubert from Pixabay