Software Update, what are the priorities?

UpdatesSoftware updates are increasingly becoming the vogue. It almost seems like each week there is an update for the operating system, software or services running on your computer or mobile devices. For someone who uses computers every day for work software updates are one of my biggest pet hates.

Starting up a piece of software to find a dialog box insisting upon allowing it to update itself to the most recent release are intensely annoying. I started the application for a reason to perform a task or check information, time is precious but it instead insists that I wait for several minutes whilst it downloads then installs the updates. In the meantime time is ticking away, including my patience.

The worst of the worst is Microsoft Windows Update, I use Windows 7 though I’ve had this problem with all older versions too. The default setting is to download and install updates automatically, it will also restart your computer automatically too. So all those important documents and website you painstakingly found and had open on your computer, or that download which had been going on for the last hour due to a slow internet connection are all gone in the time it takes to get a cup of tea. Instead you get a new shiny icon appearing on your desktop for a piece of software you never use, or ever needed. This has in the past cost me dearly and set me back several hours whilst I refound or had to reset up the computer.

At the end of the day a computer, mobile or other devices are a tool for the user. The user is king and their data is important. A lot of automatic update software seems to forget that, instead putting the focus on getting the task or the update software completed, taking the user out of the loop and putting the user at an inconvenience.

I would love it it software development companies would take a leaf out of the book of companies like Google. Google Chrome is constantly being kept up to date, but I never know when this is happening. The Chrome updater puts the user at the centre, performing updates when it will inconvenience the user least.

I think it’s about time software puts the user back in the driving seat, realise that software is merely a tool and that data is important.