Checking for updates, what does it do?

When we receive support calls, emails or forum posts, one question we always ask is what specific version and service build a user has installed. This is very important since it keeps us from running after problems that have already been solved a while ago.

As it turns out, a large percentage of our users are up-to-date with the latest service build. The rest of them, about 40%, are hopelessly behind and still run the build they initially downloaded.

When we ask why they don’t run the automatic update check, the answer is inevitably something akin to: “I don’t like running all types of update things in my system tray”.

Now, we can completely understand that, neither do we. All these processes that run on a normal machine just to check every once in a blue moon if there is an update seems to be just a waste of memory. Displaying an icon in the system tray for that purpose seems even less called for. Do we really need an icon for something that happens maybe once a month?

The update checking procedure that Apple employs, just as an example, is less intrusive but ineffective. The check only runs on reboot and my laptop only reboots if really required, about once every 8 to 12 weeks. Otherwise it just goes to and from standby. As you can imagine, that check doesn’t run very often.

So how do PrimalScript and other SAPIEN products do it?

Every time the product starts, it looks at the setting (daily, weekly, monthly, never), compares today’s date to the date of the last check and IF that calls for checking, only then a process called “Check4Updates.exe” is launched.

That process checks on our website if any of the installed SAPIEN products have a newer version or build and displays a message if it finds anything. Otherwise it will just silently go away.

So you see, no waste of memory or CPU cycles, no tray icon wasting screen real estate.

There is no reason to switch that off and not check. Go to Help -> Automatically check for updates and set it to at least monthly.