Software Upgrade vs. Software Update


Upgrade and update are two words in the computer industry that are often interchangeably used in the wrong manner.   Here’s a quick explanation to help you understand your software options.

Update:  An update is a patch for a specific piece of software you already have installed on your system. Typically it involves adding numbers or letters after the version of the software and is released more frequently than upgrades. The purpose of an update is to fix bugs or make minor improvements to a software package. Generally an update is very unlikely to cause problems or result in data corruption.

Upgrade:  An upgrade is the complete replacement of an older version of a software package. Typically it involves a name change to the software like QuickBooks 2010 upgrade to QuickBooks 2011 or Raiser’s Edge version 7 to version 8. In these instances the previous software is generally uninstalled with new upgraded version installed and any databases or information associated with the application is migrated to the new version. Due to the nature of a software upgrade and the migration of data that occurs it is more likely to see problems with data corruption or failed upgrades than when doing a software update. It is due to these reasons that a software upgrade typically requires more planning and time to complete.

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One Comment

  1. Nice and concise, and to the point. It’s amazing how many people get confused with those two terms and think they’re interchangeable, I’ll be sure to steer them in this direction in the future. Thanks Chris.

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