Are your programs up to date?

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Main, Software, Tech support, Tech Tips | Tags: , , , , |

I often find myself installing software for a specific purpose (testing, maintenance, etc.) and not using it regularly, which means it’s probably outdated when I need to use it again.  Sometimes it’s a game that is still being developed (like Frets on Fire, a free, great Guitar Hero style game for your PC) that gets updates pretty often.  When I go to use it after a while, I have to take the time to update it to the latest release before I can use it, which is kind of a pain.

Fortunately, there are a couple of programs out there that minimize the hassle of updating software.  While they don’t automatically update the programs that are installed on your machine, they make it easier for you to do it when you have some free time.  Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

FileHippo

The first is FileHippo.com’s Update Checker, which comes in two versions.  One is FileHippo Update Checker Resultsinstalled and runs automatically in the background, the other is a standalone version.  If you’re the type who just wants to be told when there are new versions available, go ahead and install it and let it run in the background.  If you’re worried about another background process taking up resources and don’t mind running it yourself, I’d recommend the standalone version.

Once it’s done running, a window is opened in your default browser with information about what programs need updating.  You’re presented with a list of installed software and version, along with what new version is available.  Each entry has a download link with it that changes to let you know what you’ve already upgraded.  All the files are hosted on their servers so there’s no hunting down every program from the publisher, which makes for easy updating.

AppSnap

The other program that I often use is AppSnap (official blog).  According to their website, 

AppSnap is an application that simplifies installation of software. It automatically figures out the latest version, downloads the installer and then installs the software in one seamless step. AppSnap is primarily designed for Windows which does not have any decent package manager such as APT and RPM as in the Linux world.

AppSnap GuiThis one is a great way to find new software as well as updating the programs you already have installed.  In fact, AppSnap is how I found Frets on Fire (see above).  This program presents you with a long list of programs that can be filtered by type or status.  Once there, you can easily add, remove, or upgrade programs from one central window.  Since this is installed on your computer, you should click the “Update” button to make sure the database is the latest.  From there, it’s a snap (pun intended) to select what you want to install and let the program do its thing.

 

So those are my two for today.  What do you use to keep your software updated?  Leave a comment below and share your tricks with the rest of us.

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