Too Many Software Updates?

May 12, 2011, By Christian Cawley

We’ve been connected to the web since around 1995, and in that time the developers behind many utilities have taken advantage of this connectivity to streamline the process for updating their applications.

In many cases this is a straightforward process; the Microsoft Windows Update and Apple’s Mac OS X Software Update are both examples of when the process works well. However in other situations it isn’t as easy.

In these cases, either the update process itself is flawed, or else it apparently works correctly but appears to be employed far too often. A case in point is the update method behind Adobe Reader, the most popular tool for reading PDF documents.

Too Many Adobe Software Updates?

Why So Many Updates?

As a popular format, PDF documents can be read in many different applications, but the majority of users still stick with the original tool, Adobe Reader (formally Acrobat Reader). However as a popular application, Adobe Reader is the target of various unscrupulous developers, intent on creating malicious software (malware) to take advantage of any exploits they can find in the software.

If successful, these exploits might be used to hijack a PC, browser (Adobe Reader provides a browser add-on for reading PDF documents in web pages) or even steal and delete data from a computer network.

In order to combat this, Adobe provides updates for their software, and you will receive notifications of this as you boot Windows. These can be quite aggressive at times, but in for each available update you will get the choice to ignore the notice, or update the application.

Should I Update?

If you want your PC to remain safe from any of the threats that can be presented by a non-secure version of Adobe Reader, accepting the update is a very good idea. Updates are issues regularly to desktop and notebook computer users because they are the devices that are most commonly associated with PDFs, but don’t be surprised to see more and more updates for Adobe Reader on mobile devices.

The regularity with which these updates for Adobe Reader on Windows or Mac OS X are required might become something of a thorn in your side; regular updating can prove tiresome, and once you have ignored it once it becomes all too easy to do so again.

However there are other applications that you might opt to use to read your PDFs. Since Adobe declared their once proprietary PDF format as a de facto portable document solution, many alternative PDF readers have become available; some are free, but none of them offer the same number of updates as Adobe Reader.

For instance, you might try Foxit Reader, which is available free, or Nitro PDF which is both a reader and a PDF generator. Meanwhile Gnostice Free PDF Reader can be used for Mac and Linux computers.

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