It’s important to update your computersoftware. New updates can bring bigger and better features and usability, butmore importantly, they also provide bug fixes, performance improvements, andother security-related patches.
The bottom line is that you should always keepyour software updated. But how do you it? Well, unfortunately, Windows doesn’tprovide much in the way of automatic updates aside from the updates it providesto your operating system, which we’ll go over below.
As for other software you use, like theapplications and games you download to your computer, support for automaticupdates is usually pretty slim. Some software lets you enable auto updating butfor others, you have to rely on third-party software updaters to do the trick.
Whether you’ve just obtained a new computerand are putting new programs on it, or you’ve had yours for a while but noticehow much you hate manually updating things, the tips below will help youdetermine how your PC software can be updated automatically.
Use Windows Update
Windows itself, the entire operating systemand the tools built-in to it, needs updated as often as possible. Microsoftreleases updates weekly, so this is a no-brainer: enable these updates to getfresh protection every week, and sometimes new features, too.
Microsoft provides a tool, aptly calledWindows Update, that comes with the OS to update it when needed.
Note: Running Windows 10? Learn how to secure Windows 10 here for specific instructions for that OS.
Step 1: Open Windows Update. You can do so by searching for Windows Update through the Start menuor Control Panel.
Step 2: Select the Check for updateslink.
Step 3: Choose Install updates toensure that your computer has the most recently available updates.
Keeping your individual applications updatedisn’t as easy as it is to update the Windows operating system. You could alwaysre-download your programs every so often to ensure that they’re updated, butthat’s tedious and will often prove to be a waste of time since some of yoursoftware might be abandoned by the developer and updates never released.
Instead, there are dedicated programs you can install that will update your other programs! Yes, it seems weird, but they exist and can be extremely helpful. Some of the better free ones include IObit Software Updater , Patch My PC , and FileHippo App Manager .
Another free program updater that focuses on just security updates, is Thor . CCleaner is an example of a program that includes a software updater, but that feature isn’t free.
To use those programs, just install them andthen configure a few settings to tell it when and what to check for. Thoseapplications are great for updating other software because most of them willnotify you when a program needs updated, and some will even do all the updatingfor you.
However, auto-updaters don’t catch everything for the simple reason that they can’t. There’s a lot of software out there, and not any single updater can catalog all of them.
Some updaters can be purchased to support more programs than the free versions, but even then, you’re bound to run into situations where a program (or two, or ten) you have on your computer isn’t supported by the software updating tool.
Tip:Different program updates will support different programs. If you find that theone you use doesn’t auto-update a specific program that you want it to support,try a different updater. Feel free to run a few at once to catch everything.
Another way to ensure that your third-partyprograms update automatically is to see if the program has an auto-updateoption in the settings. Some programs will check for updates but won’t installit for you, but others will do the checking and installing without you havingto do a thing.
For example, if you open the Help > About Google Chrome menu in the Chrome browser, it will check forand then install any available updates. This also happens in Chromeautomatically, periodically.
Auto Update Games
Keeping your PC games up to date is usuallydetermined by a setting in the game, like in the Chrome example above.
If you use Steam to download and play games,it has auto-updating built-in. By default, every video game will update whenthe developer pushes an update out to the users, so there really isn’t anythingyou need to do to keep Steam games updated.
If a Steam game isn’t updating when updates are available, right-click the game from the LIBRARY section of the program and then go to Properties.
In the UPDATES tab, ensure that one of these options is selected: Always keep this game up to date, Only update this game when I launch it, or High Priority: Always auto-update this game before others.