So, When Should You Upgrade?

Ask software publishers when you should upgrade, and they'll tell you every time there's a new version of their software. Well, that's not necessarily true.

July 1, 2000

Certainly, over time, you'll want to trade up for an enhanced version of your favorite applications. But make that move only when it makes practical sense for you. When is that time?

  • After you've upgraded your operating system: Installing a new operating system is like putting a new engine into an old car. Sure it's going to run, but some of those old parts could slow things down. With software, they might even make the system prone to crashes.
  • When you experience problems: Whenever the same software is the source of persistent screen freezes or crashes, it's wise to consider an upgrade or alternative application. You may also want to contact publishers of those applications you rely on before you trade up to a new OS. Inquire if you'll need a newer version of their software, or if, where, and when software patches or updates will be available to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • When there are significant improvements: Often, a new version of software means little more than a few minor improvements. Upgrading to a newer version of what you're using will cost you something. It's an investment best made when the publisher has significantly enhanced the features and performance of its product in ways that will benefit users.
  • After the update has proven itself: Don't rush out to purchase the latest version of software the way you would a CD by your favorite recording artist. New software is never fully proven until it's been in the market a while. Let others test its features and discover its bugs during that critical first month, or longer, if you can wait.
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