Installing New Software Is Risky

When you get a new computer, you'll want to install yourfavorite software and get everything running just the way youwant it to. Then you'll likely add some new stuff, possibly over a period of the next couple of months. Beyond this point,hesitate to add more. Here's why.

Shared Library Files

Many software firms use DLL (Dynamic Linked Libraries) in developing programs. They are kind of like a tool box from which the programmer chooses the one needed. Even though the program being created may need only a couple of "tools" from this DLL,using them saves programming time, which is expensive. This is a safe and efficient procedure, for the code in the library is well tested and will run reliably.

Other software developers use the same library. Some DLLs are used in many programs. For you, this means less disk space required on your system, for only one copy of the library is needed.

You also benefit in that you pay less for the software and it runs reliably. It's hard to see anything negative in such a procedure. Or in software using any other shared procedures.For example, you might have several programs that use a common routine that is part of connecting your system to the Web over a phone line.

All About Versions

Most companies developing software will use the latest version of a DLL. It contains changes and enhancements over earlier ones. Thus differences exist between them.

This is true of different versions of other software. The latest version of IE (Internet Explorer), for example, contains changes and enhancements over the previous one. Migrating from the current version to the latest, can mean installing what amounts to almost a new program.

The Catch In Upgrading Or Installing Software

When you install an upgrade or a new piece of software, any DLLs used will also be installed. Windows makes the rules in this. An older version of a DLL is not allowed to overwrite a later one. But a newer one IS allowed to overwrite an older one. Here's how things can go wrong.

Suppose you have a program call SPLAT, another called SPRANG,and a third call SPUNK. Suppose they all use a DLL called STUFF. If you upgrade SPUNK, and the upgrade includes a new version of STUFF, then quite suddenly SPLAT and SPRANG may not run properly. That is, they are now forced to use a version of STUFF the programmer had not planed for.

While it's quite likely a new DLL will run just fine with older programs, it may not. If your older programs won't run well enough to suit your needs, you may be forced to upgrade to later versions. Unfortunately, this may not solve the problem if the older DLL is still in use.

A Horror Story

I personally do not install upgrades unless literally forced to do so. (And I do not install new software except when absolutely required.) Some time back while using an earlier version of IE, I was forced to upgrade. The results were disastrous.

I first tried upgrading IE to the latest version, 5.5. But I never could get it to run. I dropped back to version 5.1, which ran, but unpredictably.

My system became unstable. Lots of memory collisions (GPFs)that crashed some program maybe two dozen times a day. Even IE was not running properly and became the program most likely to crash. Other stuff was happening that required restarting the computer 5-6 times each day. If you have been there, you know how much this slows you down.

Further, several of the programs I use routinely, such as Eudora, began failing with troubling regularity. And two would no longer run at all.

My only option was to retire a perfectly good computer less than two years old and buy a new one. Then install all the latest software all at once. This meant chucking some stuff I liked, then hunting up replacements. Both time consuming and tedious.

So What Went Wrong?

I have no idea, really. But the most likely cause of this failure was in overwriting one or more DLLs with later versions required by IE that my other software could not handle. That is,my other programs were designed to run on the previous versions,not the latest.

What This Means To You
If you are a casual user of your computer, and load up something new about once a month, the chances are you will never face the problem described above. The worst that is likely to happen is that as new software is added, older programs do not run in quite the same way.

If you are a serious computer user, and depend upon one as an integral part of your business, take the position you won't upgrade or install new software unless you are absolutely forced to do so.
My tale is not an isolated case. All heavy users of contemporary PCs have had this experience, even if not quite so severe.

If you need a program, by all means install it and go. But be hesitant in playing the gameFree Web Content, "I think I'll try this." Why risk it?

Author: Bob McElwain
Source: Free Articles from