I gotta love the regular readers here – they definitely keep me on my toes. Based on a recent article – Not Running Secunia PSI? Why Not? – a number of readers had the same question (both in comments and privately); what about FileHippo Update Checker? Rightfully so – FileHippo Update Checker is an outstanding application in its own right.
Luckily (whew!), I had reviewed and recommended this solid freebie back in May, 2010. Based on reader feedback, I’ve edited this previous article (including updated graphics), and reposted it here.
Free FileHippo Update Checker – A Very Cool Tool
One of the most frequently repeated pieces of advice on this site is – “Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched, and up to date”. Sounds like good, practical advice – and it is. But as those of us involved in computer security know; this is advice that is not always followed.
Experienced users are generally aware that free, automated applications, are readily available for download, that take the burden out of updating and patching.
One particular application that I have reviewed and recommended a number of times – that does just that is, Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), which constantly monitors a system for insecure software installations, notifies the user when an insecure application is installed, and then provides the user with detailed instructions for updating the application, when available.
Like all applications, PSI is not perfect. The most common complaint seems to be, that after updating applications it may still report that specific applications are out-of-date, or pose a threat.
Regular reader, and IT pro, Georg L., from Vienna, Austria, has pointed out that an alternative to PSI, which is compatible with x64 systems, and which does a comparable job of checking your installed software for critical updates, and security fixes, is FileHippo’s free Update Checker.
Following Georg’s recommendation, I sparked up an older test machine, and downloaded and installed Update Checker. The test scan took only a matter of seconds. Less than 3 seconds in this test – virtually in the blink of an eye!
The updated Browser screen shot below, illustrates the results obtained following the Update Checker test scan.
For testing purposes I clicked on the green download arrow which opened the following download applet, so that I could update one of my favorite free utilities – CDBurnerXP
I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed FileHippo’s Update Checker returned results for Beta Updates as well – as the following screen capture indicates. For those users who like to test Beta software, this is a definite bonus.
It’s important to understand that all software of this type may well have shortcomings of one type, or another. FileHippo’s Update Checker, for example, does not support all programs.
This should not be surprising, given the enormous quantity of available applications. The most popular applications, of course (the ones you are most likely to have installed), are covered.
From the developer’s site:
We work hard to include as many programs as we can in the Update Checker, but we currently cannot detect them all. This can be for various reasons, including: technical issues, publisher limitations or lack of consistent version numbering. However, we’re constantly advancing our detection methods and working with publishers to improve this.
Note: The Update Checker will not send any personal information back to FileHippo.com. The only information collected is a list of programs and their versions, along with the operating system details to help with processing.
Additionally, none of this information is linked to your IP address; the logs are deleted after processing.
Recommendation: I was quite impressed with this application’s speed, and thoroughness. A definite practical alternative to Secunia Personal Software Inspector.
If you’re inclined to do so – download both applications, take them for a spin, and form your own opinion. You’ll have a little bit of fun!
System requirements: Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000, ME or 98. (both 32 and 64 bit where applicable). Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 (the installer will prompt you and download it automatically).
Download at: FileHippo
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