From the Kenosha News on 10-7-07

Newer versions of software aren’t always better

      It happens more than we want it to:  we’re prompted to upgrade to a newer version of some piece of software.   The most common upgrades include:  AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java, iTunes, and web browsers such as Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox.  The prompts can seem relentless, and sometimes we click “Yes” just so they’ll stop.  But occasionally, the newer software isn’t better than the earlier version; in fact, some times it’s worse.

      In the past few months, I’ve seen incompatibilities between specific systems or documents and software such as IE7, AIM 6, Firefox 2, and some others.   So, if you upgraded, can you go back?  Sometimes you can, and sometimes you can’t.  Of course, a system upgrade (such as going from Windows XP to Windows Vista) can only be undone by starting over again installing the previous operating system.  Some strategies for “undoing” less drastic software upgrades are given below. 

      If you notice the problem soon enough, you may be able to use your Windows Restore to go back to a point in time before you installed the software update.  In Windows XP, this is done as follows:  Click Start -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> System Restore.  Next, you will see a calendar with the available, recent restore points shown in bold.  Click the most recent available before you installed the update.  Click the Next button.  Carefully READ the next screen; then click the Next button.  WAIT while your computer performs the restore, shuts down and restarts.  You should then see a message that “your computer has been successfully restored” to the date that you chose.  It further explains that if this did not fix the problem, you can undo the restore or choose another date to restore.  Click OK.

      Sometimes, the software vendor keeps the older version available for some time and you can download and install it from the web site.  This usually requires uninstalling the newer version first; do this through the Add/Remove Programs item in the Control Panel.  Older versions I found on-line include:

  1. AIM 5.9.  Go to the AIM.com web site.  Click the "All" link just under the button marked "Install Now", then choose Classic AIM 5.9.
  2. Adobe Acrobat.  Go to the following address: www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2_allversions.html
  3. Internet Explorer 6.  Go to www.microsoft.com/downloads/ and then type “IE 6” in the search box and then click Go.  The appropriate item is labeled “Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1.”  You MUST uninstall newer versions of IE before you can install this one.  Note: I have not tried IE 6 Windows Vista. 

      Two items I could not find a previous versions of include Firefox and iTunes.  Mozilla’s web site only lists Firefox 2.0, and Apple’s site only shows iTunes 7.4 for Windows and Macintosh.  You might want to check with friends and colleagues for a Mozilla 1.5 installer or older iTunes installer or even search on your computer for an installer file that might still be there after a previous download. 

      Finally, the best thing to do is just hold off on upgrades until you’re sure you really want or need it. 

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 10-7-07