Why Does My Computer Need Updates?
Last Updated on March 31, 2021 by Travis Kipp
Why does my computer need updates? This is a common question and computer updates can be very frustrating. It seems like they happen right when you’re in the middle of an important task. I will go over why your computer needs them and how to make them bother you less. Every operating system needs updates but this article will focus on Windows 10.
Programming is Hard
If you’re at all familiar with programming, it’s not the easiest thing in the world. With that in mind, ensuring an operating system works perfectly on all the various computer configurations is no easy task. Mistakes happen and they need to be fixed. Updates are the solution. They fix minor issues such as an icon not being displayed properly to the computer crashing when trying to perform a specific task.
With the Advent of Windows 10, updates are being rolled out faster than any other version of Windows. This is the case for two reasons, Windows 10 is considered a service rather than a product. This means Microsoft will continue to support the product for a longer period of time compared to previous versions of Windows. Be careful though as older versions of Windows 10 are not supported. You may have heard of Windows 10 1809 or Windows 10 20H2. These are major revisions to the operating system. As such, they are not going to support the old versions as that requires maintaining too many different code bases. This may be the reason why Windows updates seem more prevalent than before. With the rolling release, the typical user is seeing more and more updates. Also, technology moves fast and it seems to keep moving faster and faster.
Humans enjoy finding weaknesses in systems. Again, programming is hard so issues are inevitable. With the rise of cyberattacks, it’s more critical no than ever to ensure you are getting updates. Updates patch security issues before they are being exploiting and sometimes after they are found. You might have heard of a zero day. This is day zero when the issue was found being exploited in the wild and the software developer was previously unaware of the problem.
Your computer has many different devices which all need drivers. Drivers allow the hardware, such as your mouse, to communicate with the computer. An issue with the driver may be found and needs to be fixed. Most devices can get their drivers updated via Windows updates. Some, however, are more obscure and need to be updated manually. Some devices work with Windows 10 but not all of their features are accessible. A prime example of this is printers. If you want to use an advanced feature, you will most need to get the specific driver from the printer manufacture’s website. If you play games you are probably aware your graphics card needs drivers. These drivers change more frequently than mouse drivers. This is due to the complexity of the driver and new games being released. Driver creators optimize the newest version for the latest games releasing.
Windows gives you options to make updates less annoying. If you go to Settings > Update & Security there is an option to change active hours. This setting will prevent the computer from automatically restarting your device in the indicated time frame. When Windows prompts for a restart, it’s a good idea to schedule the restart. This allows you to pick the time when Windows will restart and install the updates. Doing so will help prevent Windows from wanting to update when you’re in the middle of something important. Another option is to defer updates. This prevents Windows from looking for and installing updates for the selected time period. You can pause updates for a little over a month.
Occasionally updates cause issues with other parts of the system. For example, one update made Windows blue screen when trying to print. We uninstalled the offending update and used the update deferring feature to prevent the update from being installed again.
Computer updates can be frustrating but they’re better than the alternative, an insecure system infested with bugs. The hard truth is programming is complicated. There are so many systems which need to talk with each other and there are lots of people working on the same project. Mistakes are inevitable. With the rise of malicious actors finding weaknesses, updates are need now more than ever. There’s a constant cat and mouse game between software developers and those trying to find and exploit weaknesses.
Computers are constantly changing and updates help facilitate that. They allow for Windows to recognize new hardware and be compatible with new software. Remember, if updates are causing you problems, there are a few tools at your disposal. Ensure your active hours are set correctly and when an update wants to be installed, schedule a restart time that works best for you. Also, you can pause updates for a little over a week should you need to.