Software for the home user is a double edged sword. On the one hand if you do not keep up-to-date software you stand to lose out on the upgrades and additions that manufacturers make the will help to keep your software more secure and supposedly help it to run better. On the other hand up-to-date software can be a pain because some things just ran better in their older versions. When Windows XP first came out no one wanted to upgrade to it because Windows 98 was more stable and more applications ran on Windows 98 than on Windows XP. As Windows XP was modified and updated it became more desirable than Windows 98 if for no other reason than the built in drivers in Windows XP make it so much easier to reload the operating system on any computer. But the drawback that many people saw to Windows XP is that it can only be loaded on one computer. If you buy a new computer you need to buy a new copy of Windows XP. Some people say that this isn’t fair because they feel that they should be able to use the same copy of XP on any PC they have in their home. Microsoft calls it protecting their product from pirates. The debate rages on. But the one thing that is undeniable is that Windows XP is much easier for Microsoft to update for users than Windows 98 ever was. Once you are registered with Microsoft, and you sign up for regular updates, Microsoft just connects automatically to your PC and gives you up-to-date software for free. It sounds great until you realize that one of the first free updates that Microsoft gave out was to fix the security issue caused by having an open port on your Windows XP computer ready and waiting for Microsoft updates.
Microsoft is not the only company that offers up-to-date software for free. Most of the anti-virus and internet security software manufacturers offer free updates as well. If you have Norton Anti-Virus or the Norton Internet Security Suite by Symantec then you can opt to have something call Live Update which will update your anti-virus software automatically for you without you ever having to do a thing. It is an extremely convenient feature and it is always a good idea to have up-to-date software protecting your PC because new viruses are released every day. There are advantages to keeping some of your other software up-to-date as well that have a lot to do with the constant advance in features that software manufacturers are coming up with constantly.
Staying with the topic of computer protection another up-to-date software that you can get for free is software that detects and removes spyware and adware from your computer. Spyware is software that tries to steal your passwords and other important information and get that information back to a website that collects it and adware is software that clogs up your PC with pop up advertising to the point where you have to reformat your hard drive if you want it to work again. There are good spyware and adware removal tools available for free on the internet and some of them even offer up-to-date software for free as well. You can get regular updates to this software that can assure that the software you are using to protect your computer is as up to date as the people trying to attack your computer.