Whether it’s Word or Windows, there will come a time when you will have to update your software. With regular upgrades being released by Microsoft and Apple and other well-known brands, it pays to be aware of software updates when they are scheduled, and exactly what will be affected by these so-called changes.

What do I need to consider?

Most scheduled Operating System (OS) updates on your laptop or PC will not require a fee. It is more a case of the company creating a new version of their software to counteract any bugs, vulnerabilities and security issues, while at the same time releasing new and improved features. Your OS will generally let you know when a new update is available as will your apps and browsers. Software updates such as Word or Excel from the Microsoft Office software suite will require a purchase of the newer version to stay up to date. As most software updates are designed to fix some kind of software weakness, staying up to date is recommended provided you have done your research.

What is the impact?

While a scheduled update may rarely cause long-term problems, going in with your eyes wide open is recommended. A friend of mine carried out a routine software upgrade on her Mac and her whole system locked up because of it. In the end, she had to buy herself a new Mac. While this may not happen too often, the truth is it does happen on the odd occasion; so take the time to be informed with what you may be dealing with. In most cases an upgrade may only set you back in terms of time; some upgrades may take only a few minutes to install, while others can take hours, depending on the severity of the changes. In most circumstances, it is a case of following the prompts while your system does all the work behind the scenes.

Can you delay the upgrade?

PCs and laptops allow you to set particular active hours for standard upgrades, so they don’t occur in the middle of an important meeting or cause you to miss a deadline. If it’s an OS update such as Windows, then you have approximately 35 days to delay, after which time the upgrade will occur automatically. In the case of external programs, consider what is being offered before you take the plunge as there may be somewhat of a learning curve that comes with it. Choose a date and time which is convenient for yourself – one which won’t set you behind schedule if something inadvertently goes wrong.

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