Most of the time a software is updated to add new features which makes it more useful. Also with every update a software becomes more secure and stable by fixing bugs and other vulnerabilities from the previous version. So running an older version of a software can have potential security risks.
Here are five free apps that will help you find the latest version of all programs you have installed on your computer.
FileHippo Update Checker
Update Checker is a little app that scans your system for installed software and then compares the found version numbers with its database at FileHippo.com. There the updates, if available, are displayed with version information, download-size and a link to download. If you have programs installed in multiple locations, their paths can be set in Update Checker.
Update Checker is easy to use, and the scanning process takes just a few seconds to complete. It is available both as a standalone app and as an installer.
Download: Update Checker
Secunia Personal Software Inspector
Secunia PSI is a far more feature rich app than FileHippo. Secunia PSI scans your computer for vulnerable, out-dated programs and plug-ins. After the initial scan, it will display a Secunia score. This score lets you know how secure your system is.
With a click on Scan Results, on the left panel, you can see detailed scan information regarding each software, their state, a threat rating for insecure programs, program versions and a solution to resolve the issue.
Secunia PSI also supports auto update feature for certain software. If enabled, updates are automatically downloaded and installed.
Another interesting feature of the app is the monitoring of software installations. Secunia PSI will automatically scan new installations and report on their program state. It will for instance notify you if a program that has just been installed is not the latest version.
Download: Secunia PSI
Software Informer runs from the system tray and tracks all installed software on your computer. When one of your programs has an update available, Software Informer will give you a notification and allow you to update it. You can also uninstall programs straight from Software Informer, as well as choose to ignore updates and link straight to each program’s website.
Other than software monitoring, Software Informer provides you with a large support community where you can ask questions, rate software and also write reviews for any individual program. What makes this feature even better is that you don’t need to register an account to participate. While you have the option to do so, you automatically have a guest account created when you first start Software Informer so you can ask questions and write reviews right away.
Download: Software Informer
Update Notifier is a small utility that scans your computer for installed software and displays a list of available updates. If an update is available, it will show a green arrow right next to it. If not, a gray check mark is shown. To download an update, click on the green arrow icon and you will be redirected to the CleanSofts website where you can download the update.
You can filter which programs it checks for and change what Update Notifier notifies you about—major upgrades, minor bug fixes, etc. You can also add programs to “Watch List” to be instantly notified of new updates to a particular software.
Update Notifier is available both as a standalone app and as an installer.
Download: Update Notifier
TechTracker is a tracking software from CNET. TechTracker runs entirely from the system tray and silently monitors your computer for outdated software. You can even configure it to download the updates silently in the background and install. This way it stays out of your way until you need it.
Other available options include limiting number of simultaneous downloads, set bandwidth limit and scheduling of downloads.
To use TechTracker you need to register at CNET.
Conclusion: There’s not a huge difference in the functionality between all apps listed in this post—what matters is what programs are covered and recognized. Given the enormous quantity of available software, a particular application may not support all programs installed on your computer. So before installing one, you should check out if it supports the one’s that you use.