What is a software patch, and why should I take time out of my busy day to install one?
Software patches are much more than pesky reminders to update and restart your computer. These often-ignored acts of regular PC maintenance frequently mean the difference between a happy experience using technology, and a miserable one.
Throughout its lifetime, any piece of software will run into problems, commonly referred to as “bugs.” These problems may cause the program to malfunction under certain conditions, or compromise its security in a manner unforeseeable at the time of the program’s original writing. Software companies routinely issue updates, called “patches,” to address these issues as they are discovered. Unfortunately, many computer users dismiss them as mere annoyances, and they are never installed.
We get it; software patching can be annoying. You’re at your desk, typing away and finding a rhythm to your work when BAM! An insistent little pop-up materializes on your desktop, demanding you stop to install an update and restart your PC.
As frustrating as it may be, heed our advice: Install software updates as soon as the manufacturer issues them. There is a long list of good reasons to install patches right away, but here are our top 3:
1. More features and improved functionality
Software patches aren’t created strictly to address security flaws or subtle coding issues in the program’s background. Sometimes, these updates include new tools or features that improve the functionality of the product. Since you’re already paying for the software and its associated support, you may as well use the best version of the software available. Take two minutes, download the update, and get the most value for your software dollar.
2. Better performance
Have you ever used a program that took forever to load? What about a program that crashed on a routine basis? These are performance issues, and software developers create patches to improve performance all the time.
Are you having issues with a particular piece of software that does not function as it should? Check the manufacturer’s website to see if they’ve issued an update for that program. This could very well be the answer to your problems.
3. Enhanced security
Are you familiar with the terms “software vulnerability” or “software exploit”? These are fancy terms for weaknesses detected in software that hackers could use to compromise your system, steal data, or perform any number of malicious activities. More often than not, a patch is designed to fix a security vulnerability such as this. We can’t stress how important these updates are to maintaining a safe and secure experience as a computer user.
One way around this is to enable automatic updates on your machine. Windows 10 offers users the ability to schedule updates and patches for specific dates and/or times. This means you can have your PC update itself when you aren't using it. Check out our guide to setting up automatic updates in Windows 10!
Still don’t want to bother with it?
If you have questions about operating system updates or software patches we're here to help! Please use the form on our contact page to let us know what issue you're having. We'll respond within 24 business hours to help!