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Auto update systems - yes or no

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Hey everyone. I want to put an auto-update system in some software. The question is, how will others feel about it? Why doesn't all software have this? Chrome seems to auto-update (and disabling it isn't obvious). No one seems to complain. But then other modern software will simply tell you there is an update available and redirect you to their website if you so choose. I suspect there are a variety of opinions out there on this so...


How do you feel about auto-update systems? Intrusive? Convenient? Like/hate/don't care either way? If you dislike them, what do you prefer?


Interested in everyone's thoughts on this.

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I like when programs check for a new version on startup and give you the chance to automatically download and install or postpone the update.

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Well there are a few factors to take into account, mainly the nature of the software and the target audience/consummer.

If the consumer is likely to be tech savy, they'll want to be given a certain degree of control, if not, they'll likely expect you to do everything for them.


Personally I hate resident processes, such as the google updater or the adobe auto updater, I hate a program being there running consuming my computer's resources while I'm not even thinking about their software, adobe reader is probably the worst example of this, you open it what, once every coule of months? meanwhile adobe has a resident software active on your computer full time, why? why does that need to be there? Steam on the other hand, can be set so it doesn't start at bootup and will only update when you start the program.


Thats another issue for me, unless the update is absolutely required for the software to function, when I open the program I want to use it, making me wait for an update is an inconvenience, if the update is optional, I would prefer to delay it to when I close the application and no longer care about it. Thats the way I handle windows updates, I apply them once I decide to shutdown the computer, not when I want to use it.

Taking the user to a website is pretty old school and annoying, its not even necessary, you can trigger the update download and instalation without going anywhere, do that.

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I like SourceTree's auto updater:

Every time there's an update, there are three buttons:

  • Update (the rest happens automatically)
  • Remind me tomorrow
  • Don't ask me ever again.

I'd say there's a missing "Always update automatically"; All 4 options should cover everyone's tastes.

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It depends.

I like Steam updating apps for me.

Operating systems and browsers should update automatically


I don't mind normal applications checking if an update is available, and then prompting a: [Install now]/[Not now]


I don't even mind some applications requiring an update (such as MMOs) because of the nature of the application. But not in the background, unless it asks me if it can update in the background.


What I really dislike is executable services running in the background of my computer 24/7 constantly checking for updates. jucheck.exe / jusched.exe I'm look at you.

I think Apple has one too, and Adobe sometimes, and Google (gupdate, gupdatem, apparently),


I don't like that Steam has one running constantly in the background either ("Steam Client Service"). I'm fine for it to run while I'm running Steam, but not constantly.

I just now glanced through my 'Windows Services', and spotted that Team Viewer 8 has a service running on my machine. How kind of them. I have it installed, but I rarely use it, and haven't used it in probably two years. And Skype Updater. Because I use Skype twice a year, I need constant updates?


And I'm someone who frequently uninstalls programs I don't use, I run security software (MS Security Essentials and Spybot S&D), and I glance through currently running processes frequently (I rarely glance at running services though).


No, a program that isn't an OS or a browser should check for updates when that program's executable is ran. Not at OS startup, not at random times during the day. Only when I give that program permission to run should it run.


Okay, what the heck. This just puts the icing on the cake:



...right. Because Steam's DRM isn't enough? I don't find Steam's DRM intrusive, but I don't want game-specific DRM on my machine... When I don't even have the game installed!


*deep breathing* *deep breathing*



Thankfully, it wasn't "Running". It was just sitting there inactive, presumably waiting to run whenever the game starts up.


I expect my software to be delivered via a storefront that manages auto-updates for me. For example, Steam, or the Mac Appstore.

This puts the onus on verifying and securing the updates on the store and it's associated ratings system, rather than on my individual trust in the application developer (things like Chrome get away with their own auto-update systems because Google is a large enough entity to provide some level of trust).

This ^

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