Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Windows Vista & Home Server

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Application Repair 101: Patch or Upgrade?

I once worked on a computer for an attractive woman who I had been attempting to, shall we say, romance. At stake was her ability to burn audio CDs. I was battling with an old version of Nero Express, and after doing driver and hardware checks and running Windows updates, it became clear that the ancient version of Nero was causing some issues.

I had three choices here:

  1. Look for a software update from Nero.
  2. Buy a newer version of the program—that is, upgrade it.
  3. Distract her on a date at an Indian restaurant and make her think of other things, such as onion bhajis with mint raita.

I started with option #1, but the application was so old that that updates were long ago rolled into a new version.

Needless to say, option #2 was the way to go, though I combined it with option #3. We didn't order any bhajis in the end, but the Chicken Tikka Masala was very nice. I got a kiss at the end of the date. (I can see my TV appearance now: "Geek romance tips with Andy Walker: Next on Oprah!")

Before we're done with this, here are a couple of thoughts on those software fixes and upgrades.

Software Fixes

Note the version number of the software product (learn more about software versions in Chapter 2, "Basic Vista Troubleshooting") and see whether an incremental upgrade (sometimes called a patch or a bug fix) is available for the software. Often a software publisher will issue bug fixes in a patch or incremental upgrade available for free on its website that upgrades, say, version 5.0 to 5.1 or, in some cases, 5.0 to 5.01, if the patch is small.

Automatic Updates

Some programs have built-in menu items you can click to check for updates. The command pulls in fixes from the maker's website and installs them for you.

These commands are usually found in the program's Help menu. To use them, simply click the Check for Upgrade feature and let the program update itself (see Figure 9.6).

Figure 9.6

Figure 9.6 Check to see whether your software can update itself. Sometimes you'll find update options in the Help menu, such as this one in Camtasia Studio 4.

Your program might also have an auto-update option that you can turn on. Be careful with this option, as the program might put an applet in your startup routine and System Tray, and these, as I have mentioned before in this book, hog memory.

Version Updates

Full version updates will require you to pay either an upgrade price to go from version 5.0 to 6.0 or full freight if your software is really old, going from, say, 5.0 to version 7.0. Investigate this on your software maker's site and see whether a Vista-compatible version is available.

That said, a significant jump from an old software version forward to a newer release can sometimes hurt system performance. New applications are written for the current generation of computer hardware, so upgrading to a new version may result in slower performance because the application is written for faster systems with more memory.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account