Why did an update break my computer?!

When we turn on our computer we can often get greeted by a message about applying updates, or that annoying “this may take a few minutes.” And while we have learned to live with this mild inconvenience, what is it that we are waiting for? And are these updates really even that important when you have important work to get to?

As it turns out, software updates do some pretty important things. They protect us from hackers by patching security vulnerabilities, fix bugs that might crash our devices, or just add new features that make our lives easier. In a way, they are an unsung hero that often gets overlooked as a regular annoyance. But sometimes this annoyance can be more.

System and software updates are usually thoroughly tested and should not cause any problems. After all, they are designed to make things better. But sometimes things go wrong; perhaps bad code that only becomes active on some machines, or an unforeseen clash of different software. These kinds of mistakes or situations can have drastic effects for the user. We have seen quite a few issues with updates from microsoft; a company that is supposed toone of the biggest names in the industry. So what exactly is happening?

Almost a year ago, Microsoft started releasing some very large updates to its Windows operating system. Some of these changes were to its core systems which includes drivers, the code that tells the software how to talk to the hardware of the computers. And these changes were not compatible with many devices, especially older desktops and laptops. There were many issues with graphics, wifi functionality, sounds, and a variety of commercial and industrial peripherals connected to these computers.

So what is the solution? Oftentimes, the manufactures of the computer components work directly with Microsoft to update the driver and release it through windows update, or the user can download the driver from the manufacturer’s website. In rare cases, you will need to have the knowledge or hire a professional to get old drivers working on a new system, or find an alternative. On desktops there are often lots of alternatives, but it can be frustrating when a key component of a laptop isn’t working as it should. As always, it is always important to frequently update your data!

Is it only Windows products? What about Apple’s Mac computers? Windows computers are made by many manufacturers with many different parts, so there are more opportunities with these kinds of system update problems, but Apple’s Mac computers are not immune! The recent Catalina updates have a known issue with older macbooks (2010-2014), and there have been minor issues with almost every big patch (which is normal!), but the good thing about an apple computer is that the limited variation of models and components makes it easier to prevent and fix issues when they do happen.

The Final Take Away: System updates are necessary and good, but on a rare occasion can cause problems. Most of the time these are small, but sometimes they are big. By far, the majority can be fixed. And just in case you are unlucky, be sure to always have a backup of your data on an external hard drive, the cloud, or another device. Click here for the Article on Data Back Up

Article by David Bertino - Technology Advisor and Consultant

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