Free CNET TechTracker – Automatic Application Updater

image Almost all of your installed applications will offer to check for updates automatically. In fact, many applications have the annoying habit, on installation, of defaulting to this configuration.

Personally, I automatically turn this feature “off”. I just don’t want applications phoning home without my permission. It’s not because I don’t trust the developers…..well actually, it is because I don’t trust the majority of developers. Bill’s Internet paranoia in action once again, I guess. LOL.

Keeping applications up to date though, when automatic updates are turned off, can be a hit and miss affair. But there are solutions, and CNET’s free TechTracker application is one such solution. TechTracker is a Cloud based application which will detect, and download, updates for all of your installed software.

Once you have setup a free CNET account, TechTracker will query it’s own huge database after auditing your PC’s applications, to determine which local programs can be updated.

Updating installed applications is not just a question of increased functionality in the updated version, but more importantly, ensuring that any installed application which contains a vulnerability is updated in order to reduce your exposure to malware.

The following graphic illustrates a scan I did recently, which returned a report (the report is hosted on CNET’s site), indicating a number of applications which could be updated.

TechTracker

I choose to update CurrPorts, a free port checker which I use to continuously track my ports while I’m connected to the Internet. The graphic below indicates a successful download.

TechTracker 2

TechTracker 3

Setting the scan frequency with TechTracker couldn’t be easier, and you can choose, manual, every 4 hours (a little excessive I think), daily, weekly (which seems appropriate), or monthly.

I’ve just started testing this application, but I’m inclined to give it a tentative “thumbs up”. Any application that will make my computing experience just a little easier is a welcome addition.

System requirements: Windows (all), Mac OS X 10.5 Intel, Mac OS X 10.5 PPC.

Download at: Download.com

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6 Comments

Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Cloud Computing Applications, Computer Audit Applications, Diagnostic Software, downloads, Freeware, Recommended Web Sites, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

6 responses to “Free CNET TechTracker – Automatic Application Updater

  1. Adrian

    I don’t like the fact that it uses a large amount of PC resources while running in the background, like ~20MB of RAM, so I don’t allow it to run at startup. The pro which made me try it is that CNet’s database is much larger than, say, FileHippo Update Checker or UpdateStar or SUmo, etc.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Adrian,

      On my test system this app uses 6 MB as a background process, so yours seems very high. On the other hand (depending on how many apps are on the system), having all of your apps checking for updates could be very system usage intensive.

      I agree CNET’s database is very extensive.

      Bill

  2. Roy Heath

    Hi I’ve used Tech Tracker since it first appeared but found real problem with it ability to record when updates have been made. Its sometime days, week or sometime never that it catches up with the fact I updated a program. It seems to make no different whether I up via Tech Tracker or directly via the program it still doesn’t recognise that I have updated which is the reason for this programs existence.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi Roy,

      Thanks for this bit of info. I’ve just started testing this app, and I’ll’ pay special attention to the issue you described.

      Bill

  3. John

    I like Secunia Personal Software Inspector. It’s not always perfect, but pretty good. You’ll need to put it in your startup directory if you’re using a User account under Vista. Otherwise, it won’t load automatically.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hi John,

      You’re quite right. In fact, I’ve reviewed this app 3 times in the last year, and it continues to be a primary app on my personal systems.

      Thanks for this.

      Bill