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Maintaining Your PC: Software Service Packs and Updates

Updates, new versions and patches are of released for your applications, drivers and BIOS.

Applications have bugs just like the OS does. Application vendors release interim releases of an application that usually includes updates and bug fixes. Some of these may be security patches required to plug a vulnerability that can be exploited. It is important to keep your releases of all installed applications as current as possible. Updating to newer versions of the same applications usually means additional functionality. However, it also means the code may be more secure and almost certainly, better maintained. IST does not always update to the latest version of an application if the previous version is secure and properly maintained by the vendor. We do, however, always try and keep up-to-date with service packs and updates for the release we're promoting and would encourage you to do the same.

Device drivers also undergo maintenance release updates. It can be equally important to visit the web sites for hardware you have installed to see if new device drivers are available, and why.

BIOS updates are the scariest of these because an interrupted install of an update can cripple your system. Typically, if your hardware is relatively current, the version of BIOS you have should support all the features you require. If you're willing, it may be worth checking to see if a newer version of BIOS exists and download it. You may wish to rely on the expertise of a hardware professional to update it however, as they have the experience.

If maintaining your PC concerns you, or becomes too much work, please be sure to check with your local IT representive as managed options are almost certainly available.

Created by Manfred Grisebach, July 2005, Updated July 2017