Keeping your software up to date is the best protection for your computer. Software is usually updated for 2 reason. The first being to improve and enhance the functionality of the software. The second being to close any known system bugs. These bugs can range in everything from open access points for hackers to use and abuse your computer and information to system stability issues.
If you don’t know this by now, you should learn this immediately, keep your software up to date. Here are 5 methods to aid this task.
1. UpdateStar (Win)- Still in Beta, but highly functional, downloadable software that scans your computer, including your "Add or Remove Programs" area for all installed software. Not only does UpdateStar analyze all of the installed programs on your windows system, it also displays all available updates for the product. The information regarding the software and the information is very thorough. The only draw backs are that they "recommend" programs (that cost money) that they think "you would be interested in".
2.(Win)- Gaining recent popularity with it’s latest update, AppSnap is configurable program that scans your computer for all installed applications. Appsnap then guides you through the software that needs updating (incl. size and version #). You can download and install several updates in just a few clicks. Only criticisms are that the database is not as large.
3. AppUpdate (Mac) – AppUpdate is a free Mac Dashboard Widget that combines Apple’s Software Directory, MacUpdate and Version Tracker. "It will present you with a tidy link list of all the updates found, enabling you to read release-notes and download the the updates quickly and painlessly."
4. Individual Feeds – Many software products, especially open source, will have their own feed/news section to subscribe to. This is always the best way to keep on top of your software without having to download any program to tell you what you need to download. In addition, the feeds usually offer explanations and the reason behind each new release.
5. Sourceforge Feed – Sourceforge feeds are a great way to keep on top of individual software projects/programs, and to learn about new software. Especially Open Source software, my favorite kind.
6. Filehippo Feed – Same as Sourceforge, but it is not limited to just open source software. Filehippo includes open source, freeware, shareware and commercial software. Once again, another great way to learn about other programs and software.
7. Version Tracker (Mac or Win) – Version Tracker tarcks updates for thousands of software products (Note: many programs are shareware (free trial) or commercial). Similarly to abov, you can subscribe to their feed and monitor updates for relevant programs. Version Tracker is very comprehensive, I’ve learned about some great programs through their feed.
Something I missed? Let us know in comments …
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