We try and make upgrading Cheetah as easy as possible, and improve on this process with every new version. However, sometimes things just don’t work correctly. Whether it be dealing with computer specifications, driver issues, or differences in how Cheetah works, it can cause some delays before things are running normally. So, to avoid any extra stress that upgrading may cause, here is a quick guide to answer the question of “Should I upgrade?”
When Not to Upgrade Although we always encourage you to use the latest version of Cheetah, there are some instances where you should not upgrade (unless advised to by Neuralynx). These suggestions are mainly to avoid delays that could derail your experiment. When To Upgrade Some of these scenarios may be contradictory to some of the “Not to Upgrade” ones, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution and stick with what you have. If You Choose Not to Upgrade, there are some things you should know. First of all, we will only perform bug fixes or updates on the most current version of Cheetah. This means that if you find a major bug in version 5.0.0, and the current version is 5.2.0, the fix for your bug will be in 5.2.1. Next, there is no guarantee that older versions of Cheetah will be supported on newer operating systems or with newer hardware. As an example, Cheetah 5.1.0 and older will not run on Windows Vista. If you want to use Vista, you must use 5.2.0.
- Do not upgrade during the middle of an experiment . Different versions of Cheetah can have different configuration commands, different methods of navigating through the program, or new features that could cause the data recorded for your experiment to not be consistent after the upgrade.
- Do not upgrade if you do not have a computer that is capable of running the latest version of Cheetah. The Cheetah Requirements are updated with every Cheetah release. If your computer doesn’t meet those requirements, don’t upgrade.
- Do not upgrade if you are under time constraints. If you don’t give yourself time to become familiar with the newest version of Cheetah before starting your experiment, it may cause delays in getting your experiment running. Also, as you become more familiar with new features, it may change how you run and record your experiment.
- Do not upgrade if your experiment control program will not work with the upgrade. You may want to contact us via email@example.com to see if we have a solution that will allow you to upgrade. An example: Cheetah 4.x had the ability to control Cheetah via a COM interface. Because of performance and reliability issues, the COM interface was removed from Cheetah 5.0 and was replaced with NetCom. So, if you have a COM application and do not have the time or means to port it to NetCom, do not upgrade.
- Upgrade if a new feature will help you perform your experiment. Every version of Cheetah will have a release notes document that describes what has changed since the last version. This document is included with Cheetah (Start Menu -> Neuralynx -> Cheetah5 -> Cheetah Release Notes) and is posted to the release announcement in the forums.
- Upgrade if a new release fixes a bug or other problem you have been having with Cheetah. We try and test Cheetah as thoroughly as we can before making a release, but it is impossible to catch everything. If there are problems that are particularly bad, we will have a bugfix release. You can tell bugfix releases because the last number in the version is non-zero (i.e. 5.0.2 is a bugfix release, 5.2.0 is not). Bugfix releases have no new functionality and only address the bugs listed in the release notes.
- When setting up a brand new system, start with the latest version of Cheetah (if possible). All new systems that are shipped from Neuralynx will have the latest release version installed before they leave.
- Upgrade if you just want to have the latest version. As we said before, we always encourage you to use the latest version of Cheetah. Just make sure you read the “When Not to Upgrade” section before doing so.