| By Woody Leonhard |
The usual year-end dearth of technology news seems to bring out poorly considered stories — even from well-known sites.
Case in point: I ran across an article — published by a site that should know better — extolling the virtues of “software’s auto-update era,” most notably Microsoft’s automatic patch-update system. And I couldn’t more strongly disagree.
Reading that article sent my blood pressure up a hundred points, had me swearing at the walls, and had me looking for a (stuffed) dog to kick. The “auto-update era” may have dawned on that writer, but for nearly a decade I’ve stated in all of my books — and online, too — that Microsoft’s automatic update is for chumps. And if anything, it’s gotten chumpier this past year. Anybody who tells you otherwise just hasn’t been paying attention.
A survey of the automatic update spectrum
Specifically, I’m talking about Microsoft’s automatic updates, the twice-or-more-a-month patches pushed out to Windows machines all over the world.
Other products’ automatic updates don’t bother me. I don’t care whether Firefox or Chrome updates itself — if I get a lousy patch and the browser stops working, I just switch browsers. I’m accustomed to Flash updating itself frequently; if it turns belly-up, it’s no particular sweat off my brow. I’d feel the same way about Acrobat Reader — if I allowed it to live in my PC.
I’m not overly concerned about automatic updates to Microsoft Security Essentials or about spam filter updates for Outlook. Those generally work well (and if they don’t, most of us are none the wiser).
I never use the Microsoft site to update drivers.