A regular software update routine doesn’t just ensure your applications and operating system have all the latest bells and whistles. A good software update can improve the overall stability and performance of your machine, plug the holes in your security defences, and resolve technical problems.
In this article, we’ll be considering the benefits of a software update in addressing all these issues and looking at how the process can itself be automated using the best free and paid software updaters.
The Importance of a Regular Software Update
Mention the term “software update” to most people, and you’ll usually conjure up images of nag screens or annoying windows which pop up while you’re doing something interesting, telling you “Your software is out of date,” or “A new version of XYZ is available. Would you like to install it now?”
Most people wouldn’t (like to install it now), so their natural reaction is to dismiss the screen, or take the option to postpone the software update till later – an hour, day, week, or month, typically. And when the reminder pops up again, the same thing will probably happen, ad infinitum.
Software update opportunities are routinely missed in this way and with them, the chance to benefit from new and improved versions of the programs we use, perhaps boasting fresh tools, a revamped look, and an enhanced experience for the user.
But beyond the functional and aesthetic, there are other benefits to installing the latest versions of your operating systems and applications, benefits that make establishing a regular software update routine an important part of maintaining the health and safety of our desktop and mobile computing devices.
Improving Security with a Software Update
The essential purpose of a software update is to somehow improve on the version or versions of the software that came before. These previous versions typically contained errors and weaknesses which may not only have detracted from the performance of the applications but could also have left mechanisms and opportunities available that, in the wrong hands, could result in the software being used for purposes it wasn’t initially designed for.
Much of the malicious software (malware) such as computer viruses and spyware developed by cyber-criminals and hackers was built to exploit or capitalize upon software glitches or bugs and vulnerabilities such as this. The longer a piece of software has been in existence, the greater the chances of there being known vulnerabilities to exploit, or new ones to discover.
Complete new versions of a software package or dedicated security patches (small additions or amendments to the main program) can directly address and fix security weaknesses. This is one of the major reasons why a software update can contribute to the security of computer systems and their associated applications. And it’s also why making a habit of regularly updating your software can greatly assist in beefing up the security of your devices, computer systems, and networks.
In fact, taking the time to download and install a software update is an integral part of an effective strategy for cyber security.
Increasing Stability with a Software Update
Aside from new tools and new looks, a software update may also provide new and better ways for a program to do the things that it did before. This may occur visibly on the surface, or behind the scenes. The result can be a more stable performance.
With many software packages being designed for use on different operating platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.), it’s often a hit-and-miss affair getting them to work together smoothly and effectively. A software update may address this problem as well, providing better integration between apps, and greater stability on the operating system platform.
Troubleshooting and Resolving Issues with a Software Update
Another reason for issuing a software update or patch is when the developer wishes to address a specific problem or glitch that has been observed from the workings of a program. Besides security issues, this is often the logic behind the release of updates to operating system software.
A software update will usually do the work of troubleshooting application usability issues – so long as it’s properly tested, before general release. Sadly, this isn’t always the case, as users of Microsoft’s Windows 10 who suffered the ill effects of that platform’s April 2018 update cycle will tell you.
Thankfully, cases like this aren’t that common, and a software update remains your best bet for addressing the issues which plague older versions of a program.
Automating the Software Update Process
For all of the reasons described above, it’s important to establish a regular routine for your software update processes.
Rather than requiring users to perform updates manually, many application software programs and all operating system software include an option to set automatic updates. But not all applications do this. And, as many users can confirm, the software update schedules and installations set by operating system manufacturers can be intrusive and/or inconvenient.
To solve this problem, a specialist class of software utility has been developed to automate or schedule the software update process and give users more control over how and when it takes place. These programs are collectively known as automatic software updaters – and here are a couple of our favourites.
FileHippo App Manager
Consistently rated as one of the top five software updaters on the planet, FileHippo App Manager packs a ton of functionality into a tiny package (less than 3MB for the latest version) which only takes seconds to install.
Once it’s started, the FileHippo App Manager conducts an automatic software update process which takes seconds to run. FileHippo App Manager first scans your computer for installed applications, checking the software versions, before sending this data to FileHippo.com to determine whether there are any newer releases available. If any new releases are discovered, they are neatly displayed in your browser window for you to download.
Download and installation of your updates may also take place inside the app, from a clear and intuitive display which shows the version number for the software edition you have, then tells you hold old it is. The list shows links to the latest updates for your outdated software and, if a program is available from FileHippo, the link will take you to our application repository to download the update.
There’s support for all post-2000 Windows systems and multiple languages, a choice of color schemes, and you can specify custom scan locations for those of you who have a separate storage drive or like to install programs into folders which aren’t the default ones. And there’s now an option for scheduled scans, so you can check for updates to your installed applications at a certain time each day.
If you’re uncomfortable with installing untested beta versions of the latest applications, FileHippo App Manager allows you to exclude beta updates from the displayed list.
Since not all applications are supported by the program, FileHippo App Manager also gives you the option to exclude specific programs from showing up in the update results. Applications that you don’t wish to download directly through the program can be updated manually, or by other means such as the automatic update option of your antivirus software.
FileHippo App Manager is free, and you can download it here.
Avira Software Updater Pro
Of course, though FileHippo App Manager is one of the best free software updaters, you may want to choose a paid software updater to unlock advanced features.
Avira Software Updater Pro is one of our favourite paid-for software updaters and includes some handy features.
Not only does it support the management of over 150 software programs from one central console, but it can update your programs automatically, and all at once. The automatic batch update feature makes it incredibly easy to keep on top of your software updates, without lifting a finger.
Although it’s not free, Avira Software Updater Pro is certainly affordable. Choose a monthly subscription that can be cancelled at any time, or commit to an annual subscription to receive a generous discount.
You can download Avira Software Updater Pro here.
PC performance, stability and security is essential to your digital happiness. Luckily, ensuring your software is up to date is one simple step towards achieving this – and is made even easier with the use of an automatic software updater.
Our very own FileHippo App Manager is our favourite software updater, and it’s completely free. But, if you’re looking to unlock advanced features, you could find additional peace of mind with Avira Software Updater Pro.
And, if you’re looking for a particular software update, you can keep an eye out for the latest releases as they become available and get news and reviews of new and existing products on our latest software page.