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When to Upgrade Applications

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There was a question on a site I read regularly that asked about upgrading a software application. This question and related comments made me think about how I make application upgrade decisions.

For the most part, I’m speaking of major/main software applications. Those used frequently or those that perform a critical function for my everyday needs.

Personally, I keep my main applications updated to the current versions, within reason. By ‘within reason’ I mean I like to give any new major software release a few months to work the bugs out. We all know that new or upgrade software will have its share of new bugs and I personally don’t like being “on the point of the spear” because eventually you’ll get stuck. Normally, I’ll make my upgrades within three to six months of the new release, as long as it’s affordable.

Since cost is a consideration for any upgrade, I will consider if there is a discount offered for earlier adopters. If I know I’ll eventually upgrade to the newer version I’ll often go ahead and purchase it, with the discount, and then install it a little later.

I may also upgrade sooner if the new version has features or functions I deem to be of benefit to me. Perhaps a function that saves me time or will allow me to accomplish something I wasn’t able to before. This of course would again depend upon a cost versus savings justification on my part.

Cost doesn’t figure into the equation when using open source or free software. For example, I use OpenOffice to fulfill my word processor, spreadsheet and personal database needs so upgrades are free. However, the possibility of bugs in new releases still exist, so it’s a good practice to wait a little while before jumping on board any major new update.

One exception to waiting is if the update fixes a software issue that could compromise the security of my computer, home network or data. Those I’ll right away.

My “non-main” applications may or may not be updated depending upon cost and my current needs.


Photo: Nikon D700 ISO400 60mm f/11 1/250sec

1 Comment on When to Upgrade Applications

  1. Earl, thanks again for the mention. :-) I use OpenOffice, too. I’ll upgrade that as the mood strikes me. I’ve been bitten a couple of times upgrading WordPress, so I’m very reluctant to do that very often. You’ve had better luck there than I have.

    I’ll probably upgrade to LR2, but am still a bit undecided. Although it is ‘only’ $99, I’m trying to decide if I really need it. I am running a little shallow on my disk space on my laptop and could probably invest $97 in a nice 500 GB notebook hard drive, or for $50 more, get a terabyte! That ought to hold quite a few JPEGS! :-)

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