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

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should i update my appsSoftware 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.

should i update my apps

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.

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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.

update windows apps

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.

should i update my apps

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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Comments (26)
  • Sumaiya

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

  • Silviu Despa

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

  • Ale Bendersky

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

  • 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.

    • Chris Hoffman

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.