The Importance of Keeping Your PC Up To Date
What are system updates and why do they matter? Well, as you likely know, your computer’s operating system is what makes it all tick. Without this, there would literally be nothing. You’d be stuck at the BIOS forever (the routine built into your computer’s motherboard that controls hardware settings and loads your operating system). Having an OS is nice, but how about keeping it up to date? That’s almost as nice, but is usually essential to maintaining security and functionality. Despite any claims made by Apple and their perfect operating systems, no OS is uncrackable. It is guaranteed that whatever operating system you’re using right now does in fact have an exploit that, in theory (and quite often in practice), could be used to gain access to all that you (and other people on your network!) hold dear. However, you’ll be comforted to learn that the only reason this hypothetical exploit still exists is because nobody knows about it, not even the developer of the OS. You can’t exploit something if you don’t know it’s there. Security through obscurity. If the maintainers of your operating system did know there were security holes, hopefully they’d patch it right up. Only Microsoft slacks on maintaining the security of their Operating System unless under public and media scrutiny. The only operating system that is invincible is one that is completely inaccessible by any means, even by you yourself.
The most important reason by far for keeping your OS up to date is security. Known exploits and security holes are frequently patched when updates roll out. Without them, you’re susceptible to exploits that aren’t acknowledged by anybody but those looking to use them, because it’s always assumed that you’re using the most up-to-date version of your OS available. If your computer is still running Windows XP, you should consider updating to Windows 7, or even Windows 10, unless your computer is used exclusively for email, Facebook and news. Windows 7 can be obtained for $20 or less at places like reddit.com/r/microsoftsoftwareswap, and from there it’s a free upgrade to Windows 10. Just ask your local teenager or grandson for help.
To get back on topic, why should you consider upgrading from Windows XP? Because Microsoft halted support for Windows XP in April of 2014. The OS has become old - too old to continue maintaining when there are so many other versions of Windows to maintain. The fact that XP will no longer receive updates means that known and documented security holes are no longer being patched. This is heaven for those that know their way around computers - a computer running Windows XP is an easy target, and your only defense (aside from the common sense of not downloading just anything and going anywhere) is unplugging your internet. Assuming you don’t want to do that, staying up to date is the best practice for ensuring your security and privacy.
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