Computers are a lot like cars. They’re expensive, incredibly useful, and will fall apart without regular maintenance. You wouldn’t go years without checking or changing your oil, or let the weird noise in your car fester without getting it looked at by a professional. But many people don’t look at computers the same way. They will go months without updating, shooing away notifications, and thinking, “I just spent $900 on this, it should just WORK!” Your car performs a lot better with the recommended maintenance and services, and so will your computer. More importantly, your computer will be much less susceptible to attack.

The Windows Operating System is far from flawless, no operating system is. Windows is over thirty years old, give it a little slack. Every operating system contains security loopholes, errors, incompatibilities, or outdated software elements that, if untreated, can compromise the entire health of your computer. As a way to stay ahead of the game, Microsoft often releases updates that, yes, you need to install. Windows updates contain security patches that fix the vulnerabilities and errors in Windows and associated software. Updates will also occasionally add upgrades or new features to your system and enhance performance by updating drivers.

If you are still unconvinced, the following are three main reasons why you should update & patch your Windows operating system:

Protect Your Computer:

Security is the best reason to update your computer. Once a security hole is identified, Microsoft will work rapidly to push an update out that fixes it. However, if you don't install that update, you can rest assured that malware and other malicious software will work just as fast to access your computer and potentially damage your system if you don't patch the hole. Security issues are regularly identified in various parts of the Windows operating system including ActiveX, Internet Explorer, .NET Framework, or the main platform. As a general rule: If it is installed on your system and there is a security hole that isn't fixed, someone can get in. Even if you do not run the respective software, it is a risk not to patch it. Please keep in mind that these updates are required even if you are running anti-malware or antivirus software. Security software may not sufficiently protect you from Windows security issues if you are not updating your operating system regularly.

Resolve Issues and Bugs:

Windows updates often fix bugs and issues as they are found and they typically contain several fixes in one go. While these non critical errors are not responsible for security-relevant vulnerabilities, they may still be very annoying. Bugs can potentially impact the performance and stability of Windows. Installing updates regularly helps you avoid or resolve Windows issues. An updated machine generally results in a more smooth and pleasant Windows user experience.

Upgrade Windows & Other Software Features:

Windows updates often introduce new features, while also fixing known issues. A good example of this is Internet Explorer. Even if you don’t plan on using the respective software, you should still run these updates, considering they often come with significant improvements. In addition, you may end up being forced to use the software after all because many older sites only work with Internet Explorer. Moreover, Microsoft will eventually cease support for outdated software, like old versions of Internet Explorer. This means that if new vulnerabilities are discovered, they will not be patched, as users are expected to run the latest version of the program.

Some people are scared to install updates because of potential system problems, from blue screens and corrupted Windows installations to various other issues. This is understandable, as Microsoft’s Windows Updates have been known to have errors in the past few years. For example, the 2014 Windows 7 update which caused a blue screen of death on a few PCs. Fortunately, these problems are actually pretty rare and greatly over-hyped. We have had to fix a few botched updates here and there, but nothing resulted in catastrophic disaster. In some cases, driver updates have broken drivers and in 2009 we came across a McAfee antivirus update that made a small number of computers unbootable. When this happens, the best course of action is to restore the computer to the last working update. Overall, the few bad instances will never outweigh the benefits of keeping your system up to date.

The benefit of managing thousands of computers across the Bay Area is that we know quite rapidly if there is a problem with the latest software update and can quickly react to prevent problems from happening. We use a series of methods for both automating updates across our clients' organizations and taking care of malfunctions caused by bad updates. We do this for all of our clients because it is an easy to overlook, but critically important step in ensuring security and productivity in a business. As a business owner it may be difficult to keep track of which employees keep their systems up to date. It is nearly impossible to do in a larger organization without software that pushes updates for you automatically and a person to manage this entire process in case something goes wrong. We recommend that even the smallest business have a plan in place for this, and as you grow, consider working with an outside expert.