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Why Operating System Updates are More Important Than You Realize

Few people like the experience of turning on their computer in the morning only to be greeted by a series of messages saying that updates are available and need to be downloaded. Many of us even put these updates off for long periods of time, consistently clicking on the "Remind Me Later" button. This is particularly common with operating system updates as, even though the OS is a major part of how your computer is able to function, it’s still something of an "out of sight, out of mind" situation. 

In reality, this is definitely not something that you want to do. Operating system updates are far more critical than most people realize for a number of different reasons, all of which are worth exploring.

Why Operating System Updates Matter

One of the biggest reasons why operating system updates should be downloaded immediately has to do with the security flaws that they often patch.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes OS updates can seem superfluous – meaning they make changes to built-in apps that can seem inconsequential or they adjust the graphical user interface (GUI) in a way we might not actually enjoy.

But more often than not, the major changes that an operating system update is bringing happen on "the back end." This means it is fixing the code that average users never really see.

If a security vulnerability with an operating system is discovered – and rest assured, one will be – an update is likely pushed out to address it. Every day that you don’t download and install that update is a day that your machine is potentially vulnerable to hackers with malicious intentions. 

This is also a big part of the reason why it’s so important to pay attention to when the "End of Life" date is on an OS. Microsoft’s Windows 7, for example, was undeniably one of the more popular versions of Windows to ever be released. However, Microsoft announced years in advance when they would stop supporting it. It’s simply not feasible to pay programming teams to regularly update software that is a decade old when they could be working on whatever the newest version happens to be.

If anyone continued to run Windows 7 after the "End of Life" date, they would essentially be running a computer that could be easily exploited. Any piece of personal data on that machine – be it bank statements, photos, confidential documents, etc. – could be easily taken advantage of because no further updates were coming.

Therefore, it’s always important to update your operating system whenever the opportunity arises because those updates only happen for a very good reason. Likewise, when a newer version of your operating system is released, which happens with both Windows and MacOS on an annual basis, you should download and install those, too. For the most part, they’re all about protection – making the minor inconvenience of the download process more than worth it in the long run.