0xReki's Adventures by Night

Why People Hate Updating Their Software

published on 2019-07-30, last updated on 2021-06-16 written by Thai “0xReki” Chung, checked with ProWritingAid
tagged with IT Security, Software Updates, Microsoft, Windows, Windows 10, Sony, PlayStation 3, Skype

Text to Speech:

Over time, you notice people don’t like updating their software. Why is that? Software updates fix bugs and security flaws or they can add new exciting features. Why wouldn’t you want them?! There are multiple reasons and it’s usually the developer’s fault.

Let’s start with the first reason: the process of installing updates is annoying. You have to interrupt whatever you are doing with your device and update. At least you can choose when it happens. Automatic updates make even it worse: they just interrupt you whenever the system feels like it. And by Murphy’s Law, the system always feels like it when you least need it. Like when you have been writing for hours and haven’t saved your progress at all. Or when you are having an important Guild vs. Guild match. Why is that a problem? E.g. for Windows Updates installing them entails rebooting once or twice. And for some reason, Microsoft thought it to be a good idea to default to restarting if the user didn’t react to a message resulting in many reboots with very bad timing. With some other software, it just hogs so many resources it disrupts whatever you were doing. Software companies slowly realized that’s a problem and make it better. But the damage is already done. Over time, frustrated users have already started to disable updates. And they will not reenable them if they can help it.

Windows 10 Update

Another reason is updates that improve user experience. While it might sound like a good idea, after all this time, reading “improve user experience” just means one of two things: on a console that’s just another update designed to hinder the execution of homebrew, user-written software for consoles. On a PC that just means they’re again moving some buttons around and I need to waste my time finding where the button I need has gone and getting used to it new place again. Just so it might move somewhere else with the next update. Over time, I have come to appreciate stable UI and command-line tools that are primarily designed for script execution so it doesn’t change much with updates saving me a lot of time in the process. It is quite ironic if typing in up to 160 characters can be much faster than searching for a damn button that does the same thing. But unlike most users, I’m tech-savvy. So here as well, frustrated users started to disable updates so they can stop wasting time.

Another big reason is the fact that updates don’t necessarily stick to their promise of fixing issues and/or adding new features. Instead, they actively break that promise. At times updates just make the system even more unstable. Why on earth would I update if all it does is crash my system, sometimes to the point that I have to reinstall everything?! The fact that some companies just keep pushing unstable updates to their customers, just makes it a high-risk low reward gamble with every single update. So again, disabling updates seems to be a better choice. But then, a certain company just decided instead of pushing stable updates, they just enforce automatic updates. Well done, Microsoft! You are just the worst. Stop using your Home Edition users as beta testers!

And there’s the problem that an update might remove a feature from the software or even add an anti-feature. You have never seen it happen? Sony’s removal of Another OS on PlayStation 3 is a good example. I even had an instrument tuning app on my mobile where a feature was removed due to patent trolling. Or like how the current version of Skype is infested with ads. I could go on and on… point is it happens. And the only solution seems to be, again, not updating.

So why would you want to update if all it does is very likely to ruin your day? On a console, you are simply barred from using new software if you refuse to update. On a PC, getting infected with malware just ruins your day even a lot more. And the only way to stop that is installing updates. 

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