Why Do Apps Nag Me To Update & Should I Listen? [Windows]

new updates available icon   Why Do Apps Nag Me To Update & Should I Listen? [Windows]Software update notifications seem like a constant companion on every computer. Every app wants to update regularly, and they nag us with notifications until we give in and update. These notifications can be inconvenient, especially when apps pester you with them while you’e busy, but keeping your installed applications updated is important for a variety of reasons – especially security.

You may already know this, but maybe your friends don’t, and this is where we come in and save you a bunch of explaining. Automatic updates that happen silently in the background can help reduce the nag factor, if you enable them. An increasing number of applications are adding automatic, silent updates that don’t involve nagging.

Why Update?

Having the latest versions of your applications is important for a variety of reasons:

  • Security: New versions often fix security vulnerabilities in older versions of software. For example, if you’re running an older version of Internet Explorer and haven’t installed the latest updates for it from Windows Update, your version of Internet Explorer may be insecure. If you visit a malicious website, that website could compromise your system and install malicious software – for example, software that logs your online banking information or credit card numbers and sends it to an unscrupulous person over the Internet.
  • Stability: New versions of software also fix other, non-security-related bugs. For example, a new version could solve crashes you may be experiencing or make a feature work properly.
  • Features: Major new versions of software generally add new features you can take advantage of. For example, updating the Mozilla Firefox browser to a new major release will give you new browser features.
  • Performance: New versions of software can also increase the software’s performance – for example, if you’re still using Internet Explorer 6, you’ll see a big web-browsing speed increase if you update to Internet Explorer 9.

firefox update history   Why Do Apps Nag Me To Update & Should I Listen? [Windows]

Update Notifications

When a new version an app is released – particularly one with security fixes – the developer can’t expect that every user will hear about it, visit their website, and download the update manually. Instead, many apps – especially ones where security fixes are particularly important, like operating systems and web browsers – will occasionally “phone home” and ask what the latest version is. If there’s a newer version available, the software will alert you with an update notification.

Most of the update notifications you see are for include important security updates. Microsoft isn’t adding big new features to Windows every month – they’re fixing security holes. It’s generally important to install new versions of software as soon as possible after you see the update.

windows update available   Why Do Apps Nag Me To Update & Should I Listen? [Windows]

Automatic & Silent Updates

Automatic, silent updates are a more convenient way to receive updates. Instead of applications nagging you to update, they’ll automatically update themselves in the background. Google Chrome was one of the first applications to start this trend – Google Chrome automatically keeps itself up-to-date, so you never have to worry about whether you have the latest version or click through update dialogs.

Other applications like Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Flash have followed Google Chrome’s lead. You can also enable automatic updates for Windows itself.

windows update settings   Why Do Apps Nag Me To Update & Should I Listen? [Windows]

Most users should leave silent updates enabled – it’s a big time saver when you’ll just install the updates yourself anyway. It’s important not to disable silent updates and update notifications or you’ll be using out-of-date software and leave yourself open to attack.

Some people worry that enabling silent updates allows the software developer to download and run any code they want on your computer. In reality, the developer can do anything it wants to your computer if it has software running on it. The developer is doing you the courtesy of asking whether you want automatic updates or not, but a malicious piece of software doesn’t have to ask your permission. If you’re really worried about this, you can disable automatic updates for most apps and ask it to prompt you before installing updates.

firefox update settings   Why Do Apps Nag Me To Update & Should I Listen? [Windows]

For more tips on staying safe online, download HackerProof, our free guide to PC security.

Feel free to share this post with novice computer users who may not realize the importance of updates. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below!

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26 Comments -

0 votes

Vipul Jain

It doesnt need to be fixed if it ain’t broken!

IMO, Same applies to updates, if all is working fine i dont see a need to update.
Unless there is some kick-ass new feature added.
I do this even with Android applications, update only if changelog has atleast 1 new additional feature and not just bug fixes.. :p

0 votes

Doc

Thank you for helping to spread spam and viruses!

Seriously, if you don’t have the most recent patches for your OS (especially Windows), you’re leaving security holes that can be used to infect your machine and send spam, contribute to DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and otherwise adding to the risks the rest of us have to take while using the Internet!

There are 300,000 computers out there that will be disconnected from the Internet on July 9th because they’re infected with the DNS Changer worm; is your computer one of them? Do you even run antivirus? Wise up and protect yourself by maintaining your PC.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Very true, Doc! Security is the most important reason to update, really — the bug fixes and feature updates are just nice to have.

Security is also the most frequent reason for updates.

0 votes

Ergys

The only time when you need to install small updates on your OS (Windows) is never except for Service Packages,many have money to buy a real Internet Security Package(Kaspersky or Bitdefender) today so dont bother, i remember what the updates did to my XP SP2, …urgh…horrible…nevertheless, i agree, update your applications but when you have a real antivirus and seriously nobody is gonna attack when your just on Facebook, stop going XXX sites if you dont want trojans :D or dont download from torrentz etc if you cant handle the pressure ;) Update Applications, not the OS, get a real Antivirus and your fine i say this from 9 yrs experience as a tester :)

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Not true! You should definitely install Windows security patches — you can’t expect antivirus programs to block against all the badness out there.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

The problem is that a lot of the time it is broken. That’s why we need so many security patches — they figured out something is broken, so it’s important to update.

The malware authors now know something is broken too, so it’s important to stay ahead of them as much as possible. That’s why it’s essential to update!

0 votes

Seppe

I understand that programs have an update once in a while.

But I really hate programs that update every time your start it, like CCleaner. It’s just annoying and they should do bigger updates and more time in between them…

0 votes

7987627e5cfdd26789fd0cac537539e7

CCleaner doesn’t update that frequently. I update it once a month, starting from my OS to all the other programs and cleaners.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That’s part of the reason why automatic updates are so nice. If you’ve ever left a Windows computer off for a few months and turned it on again — wow. Have fun spending a whole hour (or more!) updating programs!

0 votes

Hoku Sarroca

I don’t really update my FF every time because I also use billeo autofiller… and when FF updates it is not always compatible with it. So I would wait til it is compatible then I would update. but for windows security those I will auto update it.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Hopefully Firefox will have add-on compatibility figured out soon — I’ve heard they’ve really improved it. New FF versions generally have security fixes, so users shouldn’t be hanging back on old versions for add-ons.

This is one of the reasons I switched to Chrome from FF years ago — Firefox will have to fix it to get me back one day.

0 votes

Hoku Sarroca

I wish it was that simple, Chrome does not support billeo, :C , also some of the sites I encounter chrome is not able to get to the site so I have to use ff for them.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Weird, I haven’t seen a site that didn’t work in Chrome in a long time!

0 votes

Shawn Ashree Baba

Updates are always keeping my computer safe and working properly.

0 votes

ferdinan Sitohang

it is correct that it is very important to do updates, but windows updates create so many junk files, which is need to clean.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

I don’t really think so — they do create uninstaller files on your hard drive, which can help if there’s a problem with the update and you need to uninstall it. If you have little space (say, you’re using a solid state drive), it might be necessary to delete them with a program like CCleaner, though.

0 votes

ferdinan Sitohang

That’s correct Chris, i also use ccleaner to clean all junk file. When it comes/show the options, deleting previous unusable update file is the biggest one i found, like or dislike i think not all the updated program they created fully delete all unnecessary updated file.

0 votes

Emmanuel Asuncion

Software as most of us know are not bug free, so updates are very important for the programs to run smoothly but be aware that the updates you are downloading comes from a trusted source. Hackers uses updates as a means of infecting your pc with viruses, trojans,etc.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Yup — as with everything else, make sure you download updates from trusted sources (such as the update feature in the application itself or the application’s official website) instead of shady, untrustworthy websites.

0 votes

Elaheh Sadegh

update is a must but the most annoying thing is most of them force us to restart our computers.It’s worse in case of servers and computers which need to be on always.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

It’s definitely annoying, especially for servers, but it’s better than having an insecure server that gets compromised.

0 votes

Ale Bendersky

Good for novice users and elder people who may not be aware of this things. Thanks!

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

That’s the idea, thanks!

1 votes

Silviu Despa

I never install the updates from Windows! I never did like the constant restarting that my pc does because of them.

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Better a computer restart than an infection!

0 votes

Sumaiya

updates are good..only if you are using original software..