Right now as we’re all on some sort of lockdown for Corona Virus and many stores and services are limited, I’m recommending you don’t update your software, particularly system software.
Updates don’t always go right, and sometimes they can take down your system. If that happens you might be stuck without the use of your computer, phone, or favorite software for an indeterminate amount of time.
I learned this the hard way many times over in my years of managing the servers and IT at West Coast Imaging. So much so that I set up rules for when I would never start a upgrade or major IT project. Here’s a few I can remember off the top of my head:
- No upgrades in the week before a trip. Having your system down when you are trying to focus on a trip is a real drag.
- No upgrades before a major project. My workflow is carefully validated to produce the results I expect. Software updates can throw kinks into that workflow, and that’s the last think I want when working on a deadline project.
- No upgrades going in to the weekend. I spent too many weekends at work over the years. Don’t set yourself up for a problem that will take your days off to fix.
- No updates when a major storm is predicted. (Winter storms could shut down our small mountain town entirely!)
A quick look at these tells me that now is not the time to upgrade. Basically, remember that Murphy’s law is always in effect, and don’t start a mess you can’t get yourself out of. I’ve been bit more times than I care to remember on what I though would be simple, quick upgrades. Fortunately I know how to get myself out of most of the messes, but there is still a cost in time and frustration. If you don’t know how to fix it yourself, don’t do it till this health crisis is over.
I’d recommend that you go through your devices and software and turn off the “Auto-Update” features so that you can be sure nothing updates without your permission. Auto updates are ok for email and web only users who don’t rely on their computers. I work on mine and down time hurts me and is frustrating. In my case, I want every update to be something I plan and initiate.
Before major updates, like system software or critical software, I always do three fresh clones of my boot drive so I can quickly “roll back” to a previous state if the update fails or is wonky. And the times I’ve need those backups, I’ve REALLY needed them.
And while I’m on the subject, don’t be the first to install new updates or new versions of software. With system software, give new versions about six months for the bugs to be worked out, and a couple months for the incremental security updates. For software like Photoshop, I give it a month or two, and I usually keep the old version installed so that I can still use it if Adobe mucks something up.
And if you’ve had an upgrade disaster happen like I have, share it in the comments so I can commiserate with you!