Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

It may seem like nothing is happening when browsers and other software programs perform updates, but don't minimize the necessity of those security patches.

I diligently upgrade when Firefox brings out its latest version. From the point of view of an ordinary PC user, I've been unable to detect any significant difference from version 7 and earlier to the new 11. Is there anything? And is it worth upgrading for other than perhaps security/loophole updates?

In this excerpt from Answercast #11, I look at reasons to keep your web browser updated and discuss the security implications of getting out-of-date.

Are there upgrade changes?

The short answer is, "There's other stuff."

It's certainly not that important... if you're not noticing it. It's not something that you're going to care about. But...

Security is number one

The way you've worded the question, you're kind of minimizing the whole "security/loophole updates," as you call it.

I believe, strongly, that when it comes to web browsers (particularly when it comes to web browsers as popular as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and any of several others), even if nothing visibly changes, it is critical, it is important to keep updating to the latest version.

Keep that version as up-to-date as the provider will let you.

Security is ongoing

Those security/loophole updates are coming in all the time. They are protecting you from malware that's being written all the time... which take advantage of the very vulnerabilities that those patches are fixing.

By not staying up-to-date, by sticking with an older version of one of these utilities, you're actually running the risk that you could be the victim of malware that targets a vulnerability that you have elected not to fix.

So, stay up-to-date even if nothing visibly changes. It's fine, it's solid, it's a good approach to keeping your computer safe.

Next - Is it possible to find out if a bad sector has been allocated to a file?

Article C5239 - April 23, 2012 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Brian Hopwood
April 23, 2012 11:48 AM

Thank you for your thoughts and advice. I have , this past 24 hours, just installed Firefox 12.

Dan Ullman
April 24, 2012 9:11 AM

There are also various back in changes going on. Various CSS items have been improved or implemented. Various little items have also made Firefox faster. The interface just hasn't changed much since 4.

April 24, 2012 2:04 PM

One of the most irritating issues with the all-too-frequent Firefox updates—apart from the nag screen—is that the authors of several 3rd-party add-ons I use often don't keep up with these changes, and their add-ons become incompatible with the newer Firefox version.

I'm still using Firefox v7, and haven't experienced any malware and/or security issues at all. I also trialled Firefox v10 with not the slightest increase in performance.

I'm really beginning to think that—like all product marketers—the folks at Firefox simply follow the "change for change's sake" mantra in order to maintain their product's continued use by current and long term users, and to attract a new user base by allegedly upgrading their product in a meaningful way.

In other words, if Firefox (or any software product for that matter) is not "seen" to be upgraded—along with their competitors—then many people will perceive it as "falling behind" in the useability or effectiveness stakes.

Call me a cynic, but exactly the same practice occurs with new models of motor vehicles. Often, the "new" model simply has different headlights and grille, or new alloy wheels or chrome trim. Same car under its skin though.

Mike Wilhelm
April 24, 2012 5:51 PM

Why can't the programmers at Firefox simply provide security updates for let's say version 11 so that we will not be forced to upgrade to a new version. I am running Windows XP Home SP3 with IE8. Microsoft provides security updates for IE8 from time to time. Why can't the programmers at Firefox do the same? Inquiring minds want to know!
Mike :-)

April 25, 2012 9:37 AM

I upgraded yesterday to Firefox 12
It is so fast that I cannot understand why anybody would complain !!!

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.