Should I or Shouldn't I?
Things to Consider Before Upgrading Your Software
With the new Vista operating system out, more than a few folks are asking themselves whether they should upgrade the operating system on their PCs. Twenty years ago, the answer would a simple and straight forward yes. After all, Microsoft DOS was taking over the world of home computing, any new release had to be an improve over what was currently available. However, as the PC has matured and with it the complexity of choices we make, the answer to if and when to upgrade things like the operating system gets less clear.
Traditionally, software upgrades were intended to introduce new features, take advantage of new computer hardware, and fix a lot of minor problems found since the last major release. This is still very much true and is at the heart of why software companies release new operating systems and software programs. Sometimes software has built-in obsolescences. Internet Security software must expand its ability to ever changing threats. Financial software must adapt to new rules of accounting as dictated by the government and the courts. And, operating systems must be able to capitalize on faster or better hardware that did not exist even a few years earlier. A lot of these issues can be addressed through the distribution of software updates that adapt to new Internet threats, changes in tax law, and new computer hardware. Often these updates can be found for free. However, making these updates available is not done by a team of independently wealthy philanthropist. Rather, these changes are created by folks working for wages, who expect to be paid for their time. As a result, the culmination of these software changes are rolled into a new release of the program or operating system along with a few more bells and whistles, then offered up as the next best thing since sliced bread.
Of course the question still remains, is that new version of operating system, embroidery software, of internet security software right for you. That's where things can get murky. A few good rules of thumb to remember when upgrading software are as follows.
First, typically, new computer software tends to require faster computer hardware to perform at the same speed as the old software. While this is not a hard fast, rule, I have found it to be rule rather than the exception. If your PC is more than a few years old, consider putting off installation of new versions of software so long as the software maker continues supporting your version of the program. Also, if your computer is a laptop, rather than a desktop, you may want to remember that laptops, in general, are designed to provided you the longest running time possible. They do so by controlling the speed of the central processor relative to the internal temperature of the computer and the power output of the battery. If it gets too warm or the battery starts to drain out, the laptop will slow down. As a result, newer versions of software may run noticeably slower on laptop than desktop PCs.
If you must have the latest version of graphics program or embroidery software because it has just the feature you've been waiting for, then take stock of you computer hardware. Most software list on the box, the minimum hardware requirements to operate adequately. These should be viewed as conservative numbers.
Second, however, do not allow critical programs such as Internet security and financial software to age past the point of reliability. If you use these programs – and so you should if you're reading this article – then make sure they stay current. Finding your PC has been violated because your firewall, anti-virus definitions, or encryption routines were not up to snuff with modern day hackers can be disconcerting.
The latest and greatest is not always the best. Take into consideration that computer hardware evolves nearly as fast as the programs that run on it. If your PC is more than a few years old and was not on the cutting edge of performance when you bought it, consider replacing it before or at the same time you upgrade the software to avoid performance issues.