Last updated November 2016
Most of us wish computers were easier to use, more reliable, or capable of more things. To meet
these demands, the software available for computers is always evolving.
For all the good it brings, this constant change also creates an endless supply of
imperfections, many of which go unnoticed until the software is in widespread use. Some of these
imperfections turn out to be vulnerabilities, which means they can be
exploited by hackers to break into computers to steal private information, extort money, or
perpetrate further crime.
Thankfully, the same evolution that creates these vulnerabilities means they can be fixed, too.
Staying current with software updates is one of the best ways to protect yourself from
The Internet has made it easy for vendors to issue updates and for users to install them;
indeed, many install automatically. Others require your input, often to provide a password,
agree to terms, or restart the software or the computer itself. It is a good idea to know what
software is on your computer and how it is updated.
Some updates are more significant than others; these are often called
upgrades. An upgrade may have side effects, like preventing other
software from working until it too is upgraded, or rendering your computer incompatible with an
older printer. While it is still usually advisable to install upgrades, you may want to read
about them or seek advice first.
Since newer software tends to require more memory or particular hardware, some updates are
released only for more recent or more highly-specified computers. If your computer is too old or
not powerful enough for an update, you may be left with reduced security and without newer
features. Over time, a computer that cannot be further updated may even become less capable, as
the services and devices around it evolve and leave it behind. For these reasons, you may
sometimes be advised to replace an ageing computer even if it is not broken.
I’m a computer technician and tutor serving North Oxford, Kidlington, Woodstock and the
surrounding villages. Visit my home page to find out more and get in touch.