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The Importance of Updating Your Software and Hardware Regularly
For many PC users, the last thing you want to do is deal with updates to your software and hardware. In reality, it’s something that many of us put off as long as possible. After all, we handle a lot of work in a day, so why let a routine task interfere with important plans?
It’s easy to put off updates, but there are many good reasons to let them run sooner rather than later:
- Better overall PC performance
- More robust passive and active security
- Optimized workflow for staff
- Best way to guarantee compatibility
- Access to the most up-to-date features
- Improved confidence for customers and clients
- Maximizes the lifespan of your hardware
- Reduce energy and maintenance costs
- Updates can be a quick fix for minor issues
- Saves you time and trouble later
In this article, we’ll explain some of the key advantages for a variety of users. For most of us, the advantages of letting updates run dramatically outweigh the costs in time and inconvenience.
Why update software and hardware?
Updates are a common source of questions, whether you’re troubleshooting a new problem or trying to build your schedule around a new software update. But what is the purpose of software updates? Why is it important to update antivirus software regularly? Why do I have to update my hardware devices, too?
Software updates provide new and improved functionality while addressing existing issues, such as bugs and crashes. And with antivirus updates, the developers often continue to improve their products to keep you safe from new viruses and malware. As for hardware, updates to your RAM or hard drive, for example, help to improve your overall computing experience.
Here are some of the most important ways that a regular update schedule can benefit your device and routine.
1. Better overall PC performance
Updates are one of the most important parts of sustaining performance. Out-of-date software and hardware isn’t always prepared to handle complex tasks, particularly newer tasks related to products and services introduced after their initial release.
With that in mind, it’s important to incorporate updates as part of your regular PC maintenance. Most of the points we’ll cover tie back to upkeep and preventative measures, which are designed to help avoid problems. That leads to better performance and a smoother user experience day to day with less downtime.
2. More robust passive and active security
When you think about keeping your PC’s security features up to date, you may be considering any antivirus and spyware protection software on your device. However, the same benefits of updates apply to other software and hardware, because they’re often related to maintaining protection through the life of a device or component. When kept current, your software and hardware are much less vulnerable to tampering and hacks.
3. Optimised workflow for staff
For business users, including regular updates as part of your fleet management or office maintenance routine is a great way to boost efficiency. When you and your employees aren’t being interrupted by security or performance issues, everyone can stay focused on the task at hand.
There are similar benefits for family computers and household devices with multiple users. Staying on top of updates helps avoid issues for everyone involved, whether it’s a heavily used family computer or a fleet of networked devices.
4. Best way to guarantee compatibility
Updates are also a great way to ensure compatibility with newer devices and software. The HP Support Assistant is a great tool for users with an HP computer or accessories, and it provides update tools and easy, integrated troubleshooting options.
This is especially critical if you use your PC in conjunction with a range of other devices, such as external storage or specialized input devices, but it isn’t limited to power users. Anyone can run into compatibility issues, so it’s best to stay on top of potential issues before they actually become a lasting problem.
5. Access to the most up-to-date features
Software developers and manufacturers often maintain their products for a long time after they’re released to stores. Most updates have little to no perceivable impact on how you use your device. They’re more technical in nature and typically fix stability issues, help to avoid crashes, and squash minor bugs. However, some updates are more comprehensive and deliver new features and functionality to improve the user experience.
As an example, just look at the updates included in the October 2020 update of Windows 10. With this version alone, Microsoft stressed the importance of updating its operating system by including a more secure biometric sign-on, streamlined device management, and improved app protection. That’s not to mention the new and improved version of the Microsoft Edge browser.
6. Improved confidence for customers and clients
If you have a front-facing business with a bigger tech footprint and customers who depend on reliability, updates provide an extra layer of confidence for you and your clients. In the same way that employees can get hung up by bugs, compatibility issues, or efficiency issues, business relationships suffer when data isn’t secure or accessible.
Using regular updates and tools like the HP support assistant are a great way to streamline delivery and minimize disruption for your clients. Support assistant is also useful for non-business users as it has resources designed for users of all types.
7. Maximizes the lifespan of your hardware
Like most aspects of any good maintenance routine, regular updates help to extend the life of your device. They minimize exposure to bugs, viruses, and defects that put a strain on your hardware.
You know what that means – cost savings. When you don’t have to troubleshoot, repair, or outright buy a new device, you’re not spending extra money. You’re also saving other resources, like your time, when you avoid wasting time shopping for replacements or repair services.
8. Reduce energy and maintenance costs
In the same way that updates improve your PC’s shelf life, they tend to reduce energy costs, too. They accomplish this by helping your device run at peak efficiency through improvements to processing and reductions in issues like lag and crashes. Those lagging periods and crashes add up, particularly if it means you’re using your computer for longer than anticipated because it’s not working correctly.
As we suggested above, updates also tend to reduce maintenance costs. And a more efficient computer means not just lower costs but also a better footprint for you because you’re not getting rid of and replacing your device.
9. Updates can be a quick fix for minor issues
Avoiding updates, even optional updates, means you’re more likely to run into performance, compatibility, and security issues. Though it’s always best to speak with a professional about more serious issues, a quick update may be the solution if you’re noticing lag in a program or receiving unexpected error notices.
Older devices are particularly susceptible, but even new computers may have software vulnerabilities, especially if you’re attacked by a virus or spyware. If you use a virus scanner, make sure to keep it updated. Software updates are often small and easy to install for spyware detectors, so we recommend making the effort whenever you initiate a malware scan.
10. Saves you time and trouble later
Ultimately, most of the advantages of updating regularly boil down to saving you time and effort at a later date. Updates are a painless way to minimize the chances of more serious issues that require troubleshooting, time, and money to address. The vast majority are free and easy to install, and you can configure most of them to install automatically.
Manage your auto-update settings
Setting your device to auto-update drivers and software is a smart and easy way to get benefits without the hassle of downtime or interruptions. You can typically manage software updates through individual program settings or the control panel, but you can always contact the manufacturer or refer to the software’s website for more help.
HP device updates
The HP support assistant includes a handy Auto Check to keep you up to date, plus diagnostic and optimization features for better OS efficiency. It’s built into all new HP desktop PCs and laptops, and you can install it on other devices to help manage any HP accessories.
Windows 10 updates
Want to keep Windows 10 updated to the latest version? Follow these steps:
- Click the Windows icon at the bottom-left corner of your display to load the Start Menu.
- Click the gear-shaped icon from the Start Menu to open your Settings folder.
- Click the “Updates & Security tab.”
- From this tab, you can check for updates, manage the frequency of updates, and control a range of settings related to implementation.
Do yourself a favour and don’t ignore those update reminders. They’re there for a reason!
More about firmware
If you’re reading about updates and hardware, chances are you’ve come across the term “firmware.” This describes the software that hardware components use to operate. When firmware is no longer receiving updates, it’s often considered obsolete. If you suspect a device or component is no longer being updated, search for the product number online or check the hardware manufacturer’s website. Often you can download the latest software and update it manually.
Updating your BIOS/UEFI
Your BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) and now more frequently UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is a special type of firmware that boots your device. It’s important to update this for troubleshooting and maintenance, but it’s useful for more hands-on users who want to manage their device more directly. To access BIOS or UEFI, following the instructions at Windows Support.
Summary: Software updates are important
Setting up your preferred update routine and checking on software settings may take a few minutes of your time, but it’s a worthwhile commitment for your device and overall experience. Updating software is mostly unobtrusive and offers passive protection against a host of potential issues. All it requires is a little patience – and usually a quick system restart, too.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.