Tested six automatic software updaters

Hackers and malware are constantly looking for all kinds of security holes to gain access to your system. With patches and updates you can prevent such exploits. Not all your programs keep themselves neatly up-to-date. So-called 'software updaters' can help you with this. Which of these works well?

Microsoft has made it very difficult for Windows 10 users who want to delay or block the automatic update process… and there's a lot to be said for that. After all, an up-to-date operating system is important to keep hackers and malware out. The downside is long waiting times and a PC that restarts every now and then.

But not all programs that run on your PC update as automatically as Windows. Some questions can be retrieved and possibly installed immediately during the first installation. A look at the tab Startup The Windows Task Manager (Ctrl+Shift+Esc) will undoubtedly show you some of these auto-updaters, and some of them may also pop up via the Windows Task Manager (press the Windows key, tap task scheduler and run the program, then you Task Scheduler Library opens).

However, there are also many other tools that do not keep themselves up to date, which increases the security risk. It is quite a job if you want to check and update them all yourself. But good news: fortunately there are specialized tools that perform such a check fully automatically and possibly even download and install the updates. In this article we compare six of these software updaters.

Test criteria

An important criterion for software updaters is of course the extent to which they can detect installed programs and, above all, to what extent they identify programs that are no longer up-to-date. Although we can rely on what the manufacturers themselves claim, we prefer to carry out our own practical tests! That is why we released the tools on two systems on which – according to Windows Programs and Features – 131 and 76 programs were installed respectively. By the way, you can also install older program versions yourself as a test via a site such as www.oldversion.com/windows or possibly via the site of the manufacturer itself.

We checked each time how many programs were recognized by the software updaters and how many were flagged as "outdated". We also checked, of course, to what extent the tools were able to retrieve updates themselves and install them 'silently' or not, in the background. We also think it's neat if we can decide for ourselves whether we only want to include larger updates (for example version 4.0.1 to 5.0) or also smaller updates (from 4.0.1 to 4.0.2). We also want to know whether the tool works independently and in the background, or whether we have to start the tool ourselves when we deem the time ripe for a next update check.

System Restore Point

When you update software, you might want to consider creating a system restore point first. You can force that at any time by pressing the Windows key, recovery typing and Create a restore point to select. Via the button To make you can then create such a restore point. However, you should not lose sight of the fact that a program update will (partly) overwrite or delete certain files and settings, so that when you roll back to just before the system restore point, you certainly have no guarantees that the program in question will also roll back to the previous version without any problems. . To find out which applications such a rollback will affect, press Windows key+R and enter rstrui.exe from. Dot Select a different restore point on, press Next one, select the desired restore point and click Search for programs that are affected.

FileHippo App Manager

Version 2.0 of FileHippo App Manager, formerly called Update Checker, has been in beta for more than a year, but the tool appears to deliver more than decent results. After a simple installation, pressing a button will show you an overview of the installed programs that FileHipppo has detected, as well as a separate list of programs that apparently need an update. You decide whether you want to include beta updates in this list and whether you also want to see the installation path. FileHippo also automatically starts with Windows so that the update check can be performed in the background. Via a pop-up window you will then learn how many programs require an update.

A pity, but alas: the tool does not offer the possibility to download and install all updates at once at the touch of a button. You can, however, press a separate button for each determined update. It is possible to add updates to an 'ignore' list.

Handy is the option to add your own installation paths to the list of folders to scan: nice if you are in the habit of not always installing programs in the default folders, such as C:\Program Files.

FileHippo App Manager

Price

For free

Language

English

OS

Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10

Website

www.filehippo.com 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Finds many programs & updates
  • Can work in background
  • Can download and install
  • Negatives
  • No batch downloads

Kaspersky Software Updater

Kaspersky is best known as a producer of antivirus products, so we're not surprised that it has also released a software updater: after all, up-to-date software also makes malware more difficult. After pressing the button, the tool scans the PC for possible updates. The result is a list of programs that need an update. The tool does not show which other applications (which are apparently up-to-date) it has detected. You also can't sort the list in any way, for example to put the oldest programs at the top.

You will find out whether or not these are 'important' updates, but you will not get any further explanation about this - you can also set the tool so that it only searches for important updates. You can download and install updates individually, but unfortunately not all at once. For most updates you first have to agree to a user agreement, after which the installation is largely automatic. You can also neatly schedule the scan for possible updates, but the options of Kaspersky Software Updater pretty much end there.

Kaspersky Software Updater

Price

For free

Language

Dutch

OS

Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10

Website

www.kaspersky.com/free-software-updater 6 Score 60

  • Pros
  • Clear
  • Can work in background
  • Can download and install
  • Negatives
  • No own list sorting
  • No batch downloads

Ninete

Ninite is a bit of an outlier in our selection of software updaters, for several reasons. For starters, Ninite not only takes care of any updates, you can also have new programs installed by Ninite. Both the new installation and the update are done without further intervention by the user. Although the tool supports a limited number of applications – we counted 85 – these are mainly free popular freeware, including some web browsers, Skype, VLC, Audacity, TeamViewer, Java, Dropbox, NET, 7-Zip and LibreOffice.

What is special about Ninite is that the tool can be controlled from your web browser and that you must indicate which updates or installations you are interested in. You will then download a modified exe file based on your choices. A double click then updates or installs the requested applications without further ado. A paid Pro version is also available, which is mainly aimed at users in a larger network environment. We certainly think Ninite is a handy update tool, but especially for those who have already installed a considerable number of the programs on offer and want to ensure that they receive the latest updates regularly and with minimal effort.

Ninete

Price

For free

Language

English

OS

Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10

Website

www.ninite.com 6 Score 60

  • Pros
  • Batch downloads and updates
  • Negatives
  • Limited software offering
  • Little feedback

Patch My PC Updater

Patch My PC Updater is a portable tool that checks immediately after startup which of the currently just over 300 supported tools are on your system and which need an update. Color coding distinguishes between uninstalled, outdated and up-to-date programs.

By default, all outdated programs are marked with a check: with one push of a button you can have them updated in batch. If you wish, you can also place a check next to applications that have not yet been installed: they will then be installed neatly. Incidentally, Pacth My PC Updater also contains an uninstall module from which you can remove multiple programs at the same time.

Be sure to also go through the settings window, in which you can, for example, indicate in which language you want a possible update to be installed – and yes, Dutch is also included. You also decide whether you only want to download updates (to install them yourself) and whether you want programs to close automatically before having them updated. It is also possible to have your system shut down or restart after a batch installation. And very handy is the built-in task scheduler, with which you can set when a scan round can take place and a silent or silent installation round.

Patch My PC Updater

Price

For free

Language

English

OS

Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10

Website

www.patchmypc.net 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Recognizes approximately 300 programs
  • Fully automatic (silent) downloads and updates
  • Many adjustable options
  • Negatives
  • What dated interface
  • No own list sorting

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