protecting your cyber world!
Mobile PC Rescue

Software ROT – why does software break after updates?

Software degradation over time is a common phenomenon, and it’s often referred to as “software rot.” Let me explain why this happens:

  1. Updates and Changes: When you update your operating system, applications, or drivers, it introduces changes to your system. These updates can sometimes conflict with existing software components or alter the way they interact.
  2. Random Timing and Order: The combination of various updates, installations, and removals (such as adding or uninstalling programs, hardware, etc.) occurs at random times and in random order. This unpredictability can impact system stability.
  3. Dependency Issues: Software relies on other software components (libraries, frameworks, etc.). When one component changes, it can affect others. If an update introduces a bug or incompatibility, it may cause issues with other parts of the system.
  4. Compatibility Challenges: Newer software versions may not always be backward-compatible with older components. Some programs won’t run on older platforms, while others won’t run on newer ones. This creates a conflict known as the “If it ain’t broke” dilemma—people are often hesitant to perform upgrades due to potential compatibility problems1.
  5. Driver Updates: Sometimes, a recently updated driver (for specific hardware components) can cause slowdowns. If you suspect a driver update is responsible, consider rolling back to a previous version2.
  6. Buggy Updates: Occasionally, an update itself may be buggy. If your PC slows down after installing a recent Windows Update, try uninstalling it to see if performance improves2.

Remember that software rot isn’t limited to a single cause—it’s a combination of factors that gradually impact system performance. Regular maintenance, monitoring, and troubleshooting can help mitigate its effects.

The diversity of every PC in every office varies so much, it is inevitable that things go wrong. This is something we must live with as long as we want the freedom to build our own computers and make them bespoke with our choice of OS and software.

A great example of this is WordPress today, it has updated to v6.5 on my website and that of all my customers, this has left my website with an error due to a theme issue, and on my Blog I have this text which looks a mess (itemprop=”discussionURL”1), the only solution I have found is to turn comments off which removes the text, but this means I have to now go through my entire Blog and turn off comments on all my posts (one by one), which is time consuming and not something I want to do, but I prefer that to my website looking broken.

These kinds of issues happen in every office in every part of the world, it’s just how it is and it’s the reason people like me have a job.
If you are lucky enough to not have these issues, then please, count your blessings, you’re one in a million!