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When you open a program to work with it, do you have the nerve to download and install an available update first? I didn’t think so. But will you do it after you’re done? Probably not.
Keeping all of your software up to date is essential for several reasons. Updates typically address security, compatibility or internal issues; as Karl has pointed out. So it’s in your best interest to keep all your software in top shape. However, if you are a download junkie and you have over 100 programs installed, that’s a tedious task. Fortunately, there are tools available that will make your job so much easier.
SUMo, which stands for Software Updates Monitor, is such a tool. It’s small, lightweight and fast. You can run SUMo to automatically detect installed software and check for updates or patches.
There are five quick steps to secure a top notch system when it comes to software updates:
1. Schedule SUMo
To benefit from SUMo, you must make sure that you will actually use it. Hence, schedule the program to pop up in regular intervals, say once a week.
Tim recently explained how to Run Programs Automatically Using Windows Task Scheduler.
Pick a time when you will likely have the time and patience for this task, and don’t forget to test whether your scheduled task works properly.
2. Scan Your System With SUMo
When SUMo pops up for the first time, hit the Scan button, so that SUMo can detect installed software. On my system, it recognized 130+ products within 5 seconds. You can re-scan anytime, but SUMo will remember previous scans and will load that list the next time you use it.
3. Check Software with SUMo
Now, hit the Check button and come back in 3 to 5 minutes to see which software requires your attention. In my case, SUMo reported a baffling 60+ available updates. I’ve clearly been slacking off on software updates…
A green checkmark is a good sign indicating that the software is up to date. A yellow star means a minor update is available. You definitely have to act on the warning triangle for major updates.
4. Get Updates
You can sort the results by Update, mark all programs you would like to update and hit the Get Update button. For each piece of software, SUMo will open a website that breaks down all recent updates from the latest available down to your version or even older ones, including percentages of how many people use these versions.
Beta releases are marked and most popular installs are highlighted in green. This information will eventually help you make a final decision whether you really need this update.
5. Find and Download Updates
Yes, you still have to manually download and install the updates yourself. But it’s fast and painless. Use one of the suggested file hosts or search Google. For standard software like Skype, you should instantly find the relevant update and in a jiffy and you no longer have to worry about bugs or security holes.
If done regularly, the amount of software that turns up with major updates will remain low and easily manageable. It’s only tough the first time you do it — that’s if you’ve been as lazy as me and that’s an accomplishment. ;)
Are you a responsible and thorough software updater or could you care less? What is your strategy? Let me know in the comments.