Best Free Software Update Monitor

toggle-button

Introduction

Software developers usually release new versions of software after improving its features and user interace, removing some bugs or when security weaknesses in earlier versions were fixed. If you would like to keep the software on your computer up-to-date, you may find it difficult and time-consuming if you have many programs installed. Sometimes certain software will automatically check for updates (e.g. Adobe Reader and Firefox), or it will update itself (e.g. Google Chrome) but this isn't true of all software. That's where Software Update Monitors (SUMs) are useful. Sometimes a quick scan of your computer by one of these products will reveal which software is old and needs to be updated.

To suit different types of users of update monitors, I have divided them into four categories. The first is for the security concious, the second for people wanting an easy way of keeping their software updated, the third for advanced users who don't mind taking some time to set up their software, and the final for Mac users.

Just a word of warning though, updated software may behave in a manner that is different to the version you have installed, but very rarely updates may have a bug that makes it unsafe to upgrade. If you have any doubts, please do an internet search for any problems related to the upgrade.

 

Software Update Monitor for Security

Personal Software Inspector  

An incredible software updater that all Windows users should have installed


Our Rating: 
5
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Points out insecure software (including Windows updates), easy to use.
Slow scan, only security updates, limited database.
Read full review...

Software Update Monitor for Ease of Use

FileHippo App Manager  

A software update checker that is fast and very easy to use


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Private/Educational use)
Easy to use, direct download links, customize search space.
Database limited to software on FileHippo.com, sometimes poor software detection.
Read full review...

Software Update Monitor for Advanced Users

SUMo  

The best software update monitor for expert users


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
Ignore list, easily add portable software, less restricted than others.
No direct download links, for more experienced user, too many results from in-depth scan, regular installer may be bundled with spyware.
Read full review...

Software Update Monitor for Mac Users

AppFresh  

A very useful tool to keep applications, widgets and Apple software components updated


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Last free version)
Easy to use, checks Apple and third-party software, direct download links, slick interface.
Some false positives, newest versions are commercial products.
Read full review...

Other Software Update Monitors

  • Ketarin takes another approach at software updating. It keeps your install files up-to-date. Once installed, you have to point it to the download link of the software you wish to keep updated (or give it its FileHippo ID). This is quite nifty if you have to keep a database of install files updated for software you may not have installed on your own machine.

  • Update Notifier used to be my top pick, but it was a victim of its own success when the team was unable to scale their venture accordingly. The project may be started again and I will keep you updated.

  • UpdateStar is a SUM that I find annoying to use. It keeps asking if you wish to upgrade to a premium service and the user interface is quite cluttered. The updates generally appear quite reliable, though it is not perfect. It does not add anything that would make me want to use it over those listed in the review.

  • Software Informer has improved a lot. It is very thorough, with the side-effect that it often informed me of updates that are not available, or it would inform me of an update for version I have installed because it interpreted the version incorrectly. The Mac version is terrible. I can't even get it to work.

  • TechTracker by CNET gives me a few concerns. Their privacy policy states that they collect information about you and share it with other companies. It also comes bundled with OpenCandy.

  • DownloadPlex.com's Software Update is slow with updates, does not make it clear which applications have updates and sometimes informs of updates that do not exist, or suggests updates that are not stable releases.

  • Software-UpToDate has recently been updated. It doesn't seem to support all software.

 

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 

Notes

Similar Software

There is a similar group of software that acts like a software manager, similar to the Synaptic Package Manager used by Ubuntu. They give you access to a selected group of programs, install them and keep them up-to-date. There are examples such as Appsnap, Appupdater and FreewareUpdater. I could not get Appupdater to work and Appsnap and FreewareUpdater only supported a limited amount of software (and could not detect software that was already installed). I feel these three programs belong in a different category and will not review them here.

RSS Feeds

There are some website RSS feeds I like to check for updates. FreewareFiles has a great feed that list updates very quickly after they have been released, while Freeware-Guide gathers a list of software updated in a day and displays the list in an RSS feed the following day. FileHippo and Softpedia also have RSS feeds for the latest additions to their databases. Here are the five feeds:

If you would prefer the RSS feed of individual programs without using that program's homepage, FileHippo offers individual RSS feeds.

 

Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Glyn Burgess. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

Back to the top of the article

 

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
4.24219
Average: 4.2 (128 votes)

Comments

PSi used to work on my Vista PC and then suddenly didn't; Pecunia support is aware of the problem and says they cannot re-produce it (version 3 is in a state of forever loading) and says to wait for a new release.

Talking about software webpages I would like to recommend http://www.filehorse.com/. Something similar to filehippo.com but it has larger software base and updates are more regularly.

KC Softwares have updated SUMo to version 3.10.1.226 (2013.12.30).

Secunia have updated their Personal Software Inspector (PSI) to v3.0.0.9016 (2013.12.18; 5.08 MB); support for Win 8 has been added -- https://secunia.com/products/consumer/PSI/sys_req/ .

Patch My PC has been updated to version 2.3.5.1 -- http://patchmypc.net/ .

As a possible addition to the list above, I should like to suggest another free update utility, the Belarc Advisor. It has the ability to check not only for the presence of all necessary Windows patches, but also whether they are fully integrated and functioning -- even if Windows Update should report that none are required, in which case Belarc provides direct download links so that the patch (or patches) may be manually reinstalled (then the system rescanned).

Additionally, Belarc provides an enormous amount of system information for the machine it's run on (one word of caution: this is a professional application especially aimed at System Administrators; one result that will almost certainly cause alarm because of its low numerical value is the "Security Benchmark Score," which can safely be ignored).

The vendor's site is http://www.belarc.com/free_download.html (a review by Softpedia may be found at http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Info/Belarc-Advisor.shtml).

I think this list needs some updating.

Some of the related programs no longer exist and the new OUTDATEfighter (spamfighter.com/outdatefighter) is not on there.
Another issue is Secunia's lack of updates which have declined rapidly the last few months.

I still love SUMo's updater and would definately still recommend this like you do as wel..

Currently, OUTDATEfighter only has a small database of programs so it's scope is limited. Maybe when the program matures it might be worthy of consideration. MC - Site Manager.

Small database ? There is comment they have like more than 1.2 millions software updates.

there is a portable version of SUMo. as you described how to select the lite version, the portable version is beside it.

but the Alternate link is for an EXE, not 7z or ZIP
Also last update was Feb 17th