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Ask the MACist - Compulsive Updating?

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Welcome to the latest edition of 'Ask the MACist', the column where I answer your Macintosh and other technology questions. Our question this week comes from Will in North Hollywood. He asks: I know there's a method for updating Mac OSX all the time and sometimes I get the window popping up saying I have updates. Should I always update when it tells me to?

That's a good question and an important one to keep in mind as a user of Mac or Windows. Users of computers, especially Windows users or recent switchers to the Mac, are most likely used to a pretty consistent stream of updates from Microsoft. In fact, over the years many of Microsoft's updates have been released on Tuesday -- and thus the infamous "Patch Tuesday" was born.

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In most cases, updating the computer is an important step and the updates will provide added features, security or other improvements and various enhancements that will benefit the user. However, and this is more the case with Windows than Mac, the patches or updates can actually cause other issues on your computer while they are trying to fix something. Thats not to say updates on the Mac to the operating system never have problems or cause issues. For some users they do.

In the majority of cases, however, Mac users can feel pretty confidant that when an update is released it has been pretty-well tested and will fix problems instead of causing others. Still, caution is not a bad thing and nobody wants to be, nor should be, an inadvertent beta tester for a software company -- be it Microsoft or Apple. So even when updates become available, I always advise users to wait at least a week or so before downloading and installing them. That way, if there are issues with the update, you will hopefully hear about it before you update your computer and run into trouble. Really, if your computer is working fine, waiting a week or so to update won't hurt.