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Overcoming Software Upgrade Anxiety



Overcoming Software Upgrade Anxiety

Whether they arrive via email or pop-up alerts, it is common to react less than enthusiastically to reminders to upgrade your software to the latest version. Such notifications can be tiresome, distracting, and even annoying.


Despite the, at least perceived, inconvenience, software updates are often important. They can include timesaving upgrades, patches to ensure functionality with recently updated integration partners and, perhaps most importantly, revamped security features to help protect against viruses, malware, and other online threats.


But despite the valuable and even critical improvements that users can realize when they upgrade their software, there are those who remain reluctant to ensure they have the latest and most secure version. This phenomenon has been referred to as Upgrade Anxiety – a problem that affects a lot of technology users, sometimes to a degree that might be surprising.


It is important to understand the reasons for Upgrade Anxiety as well as the benefits of overcoming this common issue.


What is Upgrade Anxiety?


It may sound silly, but Upgrade Anxiety affects a lot of people in ways that are surprising.


Writing for the technology blog OneZero, Angela Lashbrook examined this phenomenon in detail:


“I’m not the only one enraged by my computer’s endless nagging. Tens of thousands of searches about disabling updates occur on Google every month, according to the platform’s keyword planning tool for advertisers.”

Lashbrook goes on to cite a 2017 Pew Research survey which found that as many as 14 percent of all people polled never update their phone’s operating system and only 42 percent do so when it’s convenient. It would not be difficult to believe that users also delay or avoid updates to software on desktop computers in a similar way.


Citing studies which show that electronic notifications and reminders destroy focus and trigger a stress or anxiety response in the human brain, Lashbrook adds:


“While researchers have yet to turn their clinical attention to software updates specifically, it’s likely that the unwanted diversion I get from annoying email push notifications, robocalls, or overactive group chats causes the same neurological response as my computer’s daily reminder that I’m not taking good enough care of it.”

Just as an annual physical or check up with a doctor can promote good health, routine upgrades help to ensure the longevity and safety of your data, software, and computers. According to Caroline Wong, chief strategy officer at the cybersecurity firm Cobalt, updates are also a key component in protecting your computer from harmful viruses and attacks.


In a Washington Post article about preventing cyberattacks, Wong said, “If I have one piece of advice for consumers — whether it’s my mother-in-law or my grandfather or my next-door neighbor — it’s update your software.”


While updates require an investment of time to set up and perform, they often feature upgrades and necessary bug fixes that can improve efficiency and productivity, resulting in a net time savings overall.


Embracing Change


Computers and software do not operate in a vacuum. Even if you ignore upgrade notifications, it will not stop other programs and websites that you use as part of your personal and professional life from updating automatically. Incongruent updates within a computing system can create issues in terms of functionality with integrations.


A refusal to upgrade could also mean you are not getting the full value of your computer or software. Many software solutions and online services charge a fee for their use, part of which is used to invest in upgrades and enhancements designed to improve performance and increase the utility and value of the software for you. Not using these new features could be likened to paying for an addition to your home, but never setting foot in the new space.


An important reason to update your software that no one should ignore is security. There is one group that is always ready to embrace the latest advances in technology – hackers, scammers, and other individuals who pose risks to your computer or data security. Software updates often include improved security fixes designed to help protect you from dangers like computer viruses, data breaches, and ransomware.


Why do software users avoid updates?


In 2018, a study conducted largely by Princeton and Berkley to explore common beliefs about software updates determined there were three major reasons that some users avoided them:


  • The “Costs” Of Software Updates – The reason 40.5% of the people interviewed responded to updates poorly was due to their beliefs about update costs. In addition to some thoughts about updates taking up disk space, a large factor of update costs had to do with time. This includes both the time it takes to download and install new updates as well as the time required to ensure the updated software works properly. In the immediate sense, this may be a concern. But when you consider the amount of time these same users may sacrifice overall by using out-of-date and less efficient versions of their software, as well as dealing with potential risks of not updating, this concern seems not as well founded.

  • New And “Unnecessary” - In the same Princeton/Berkeley study, 29.2% of computer and software users feel that updates are unnecessary. They also dislike updates because they add unwanted or remove wanted features or integrations from programs. This may happen when software providers perform updates. A menu or feature that users like might be altered or redesigned with new features, and the user interface might be wholly reconfigured. Some users may not like the changes, but in time, may use and even rely on updated features. If you are paying to license a program or an application, you should at least have the ability to take advantage of the latest features, enhancements, and integrations.

  • Technical “Risks” – Only 7.5% of respondents cited issues with update risks. These risks included technical concerns ranging from software bugs associated with newly updated software, compatibility between programs, fear of malicious software, and a potential loss of data. Software companies like PCLaw | Time Matters™ work extensively to test and address potential issues with updates before they are made available to their customer base. Software updates may not always be 100% bug free, but as technology improves, these updates become more routine.

Increase the value of your software


Upgrade Anxiety is a common problem, in part because updates can take a bit of time to perform. They also introduce new changes that require some adjustment before users see them as familiar. Lastly, there is concern that updates may lead to technical issues.


But when you consider the money and time that can be saved with new and vital upgrades and, most importantly, improved security protocols, the potential benefits of upgrades for most users outweigh the costs.


For PCLaw® and Time Matters® users, now is a great time to update your software to the latest version. We have resources available to help our AMP Membership Customers update PCLaw and Time Matters on P|T Community. And if your firm needs additional assistance, we have Certified Independent Consultants who are ready to help you with issues that may arise.