Why a user should install or upgrade their software.
The need to upgrade or install new software on a computer system may arise due to many different reasons. There are five different ‘prompts for change’ I am going to explain in this report. They are as follows.
§ Problems with existing systems
§ Additional functionality needed
§ New hardware requiring new or upgraded software
§ External prompts for software bug fixes
§ Company policy
Firstly I am going to cover problems with existing systems.
Sometimes, computers don’t work correctly, and when lots are all connected to a network, this can increase the amount of problems drastically. An example of a problem with existing system would be different peripheral items not working with each other. For example, a printer on a network might not be compatible, or one day might stop working completely. The printer may not work because the printer may be broken, the printer might not be compatible with the systems hardware, or software. Typical solutions would be hardware or software changes/ updates.
Additional Functionality required
Some computer users when using specific software may require additional functionality to complete a task. For example, someone using Microsoft Word may want to incorporate some images into their document, but their version of Word may not have sufficient clip art to do so. A download from the Microsoft website or similar download site would allow the user to install and use the clip art in their documents.
New hardware requiring updated software
When new hardware is installed to a computer system, it usually needs new software installed to work correctly. If the software isn’t installed, the piece of hardware has a high chance of not working correctly. If this component is important such as the graphics card or network card, it needs to have the software installed correctly. 9 times out of 10 these components won’t work without the software installed on the system.
External prompts for software bug fixes
When a new update is developed for an operating system or piece of software, the program itself will automatically alert the user of the update and ask if they want to install it. These updates can fix any software bugs that may cause system crashes or program crashes.
Some companies have certain policies that say that their computer systems must have at least a certain age of software installed on the computers or the actual hardware cannot be older than a length of time. When the software or hardware becomes of a certain age, the company must replace or update it.
Potential Risks of Updating or Upgrading Software
When performing software re-installations or upgrades, there are a few factors that could risk the system being upgraded.
Loss of Data
A reinstallation of a systems operating system completely wipes the hard drive and installs the operating system without any other programs of drivers installed. When installing a new OS, the technician should be aware that this is the case a perform a backup of all required data. A new piece of software or upgrade could damage the system if installed incorrectly. Some new software is distributed as BETA, BETA software is still currently in development and could contain bugs that could potentially harm your system. If software isn’t installed correctly, for example, not re-booting after a software update or install, this could also cause damage to data.
Another risk when installing a new operating system would be a corruption during the install. If the installation disk is scratched or there are files missing, the OS won’t install correctly and could leave the computer non-functioning.
Some newer operating systems require a large amount of RAM to run smoothly. For example, Microsoft recommends at least 1GB of RAM to run their new OS – Windows Vista. If attempting to run Windows Vista with 512MB of RAM, the OS would respond sluggishly and when trying to run programs, the system could potentially freeze or crash.
Advantages and possible disadvantages of installation or upgrade of new software
There are many advantages with new software. New software allows users to complete tasks quicker, do new tasks that weren’t available to do in older software, and have better security. When Windows XP was released, it was a much more secure, faster, and reliable operating system compared to Windows 2000/ME.
The majority of personal computer users upgraded to XP due to the reliability issues present in 2000. With the release of Windows XP users of PC’s were inundated with a huge array of possibilities with their computer. Those users wanting to surf the web safer and quicker, enjoy a better GUI as well as better graphics, and play high end games among many other things, were those to first upgrade to XP. When Photoshop CS4 was released, it allowed graphical designers a much better 3D editing environment than that of the previous versions. It is because of advances in technology like these that users upgrade their software.
New hardware is released on a near daily basis providing computer users with improved graphics, larger storage space, and faster computer usage. When a new component is installed such as a graphics or sound card, the installer must install the drivers associated with the component. Without this software, the component could malfunction and almost certainly won’t work correctly.
It is not uncommon for software to contain bugs and glitches that can affect the way it works. Many companies constantly update their software to ensure that it is the least bug ridden possible. For example, there was a major bug in iTunes 9 that created a huge security risk for users, the risk being that hackers could launch code execution attacks though bugged .pls files in the program. Apple fixed this by alerting all users of version 9 to update their software to the fixed version.
Just because a new piece of software promises to be more responsive and allow more options doesn’t mean it will benefit the user. Some computers may not be compatible with the new software and realise of the incompatibility issues after installation of the new software, the old version of the program would of been overwritten, and if the user of the PC doesn’t have the old version disk, they have lost their piece of software and anyway to create new documents or view them.
Some software, specifically freeware can contain seriously damaging bugs or glitches. These bugs can allow hackers to easily access the user’s computer and risks damage to the system.
Sometimes, new software has a whole new graphical look that is designed to make the program easier to use or look nicer.
Updating or upgrading software such as Adobe suite can create much more possibilities for the user, but it comes at a cost. If the user doesn’t know if they could benefit from the new functions they could waste a large sum of money upgrading to new software for no reason.