Understanding how computers and software works can be a challenge for many people today. There are so many different kinds of computer terms that it gets confusing.
Sometimes individuals "avoid software updates" because they think it will affect their data, somehow the data files and the software are considered as one in their minds when in reality they are separate pieces of the way a computer program works.
While most understand the hardware is the device you are using, the software program actually tells the device what to do so you can proceed with what you are working on. Whether it is a letter, a spreadsheet or some other task, the software program allows you to accomplish it.
Looking at the picture above is a good way to think about your genealogical software program as well as all others. You purchase the software, download it and install it onto your digital device. Usually after installing your software it places an Icon on your desktop, for Ancestral Quest, it looks like this:
When you double click this Icon it will open up and walks you through setting up your family file/data. From this point on you continue to work with the program. While doing this, the file remains just a file that can only be used by your program.
When you receive notice of updates, they only affect the software and not the family/data files. Usually updates are there to improve the functioning of the software which is to your benefit.
If you change computers, you will have to move those family/data files and re-install the program onto the new computer in order to continue using it and growing your family tree. Using a flash or thumb drive to copy your files is the easiest way to do this this. Re-downloading the program can be done from the website here: Download Page.
Enjoy the program, remember to do the updates and watch your family tree grow!