While systems such as Microsoft Update are useful (indeed essential) to ensure that you've always got the latest patches for Windows, you're probably also running loads of non-Microsoft programs on your computer. And, chances are, not all of them have a built-in facility to check for updates.
Which is why you really should consider installing something like Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector). It's a Windows program that searches for all the software installed on your computer, and then checks whether any updates are available.
The program's recommended setting is to automatically install any updates that it finds. Personally, I think that's a little more risky than I'm comfortable with, so during my tests I chose the option to merely notify me of any out-of-date programs. This worked perfectly, and allowed me to make a decision about whether to update and, if so, how.
Secunia PSI is free. It's a 5 MB download and is malware-free according to Web of Trust and VirusTotal. It runs on Windows XP and above, and worked perfectly on my machine running Windows 8.1 Update.
You'll find Secunia PSI at http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/
My thanks to reader Tom Whyte for recommending this to me. If there's a great free Windows program that you think I should be writing about in this column, please drop me an email to email@example.com with simply the name or URL of the program. I'll do the rest.
Please rate this article: