If you have a Windows PC, the best way (as you may already know know), to keep your operating system updated is by using Automatic Updates. They’ve come a long way since they were first introduced, and while they’re great and serve a purpose, they only keep your operating system updated.  There are so many other elements involved in keeping your PC updated, and to do that there are multiple software solutions.

Filehippupdates—Filehippo.com Update Checker—

File Hippo has always been one of my favorite resources for software downloads. Recently they added an Update Checker which will scan your computer, and check to see if there are any newer releases for the software that you have installed from their site.

The image to the right shows what you’d see in your browser after running the client, and the process of checking your installed software only takes a few seconds.

As you can see, they’ll display a list of everything that needs updated so that you can download the latest. It’s free, and works with Windows 98, 2000, 2003, XP, or Vista.

Thanks for the tip “Jack of all Trades”!

—Google Pack—

When you download Google Pack, a program called Google Updater is included and will download and install of the software that comes with it like Google Earth, Picasa, Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar, Adobe Reader, etc.

Along with downloading and installing all of the software, it will monitor for the latest versions of software.  When there’s a new version available, an icon appears in your system tray so that you’ll know.

The updater can also be configured so that it will only update software developed by Google —versus checking all software included with the Google Pack. 

Secunia—Secunia Software Inspector—

Another option for you to try which we’ve mentioned before is called Secunia Software Inspector. Secunia checks for insecure versions of applications that you have installed on your computer that need updates.

It’s Java based so it uses your web browser on your Windows PC.  On their website is a “start now” button which activates the Java Application, and the process gets started. When it’s all done, you’ll get a report that will let you know if there’s anything that’s insecure that needs updated.  The entire process takes only a few seconds as well.

—General Maintenance—

Besides keeping your software and operating system updated, you need to keep the computer itself updated. Likehack.org put together a good list of general things you need to do when you initially set it up, and then things you need to do on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis.

For example, do you delete your Internet files, run a defragmentation program, and clear your browser history weekly? Do you delete or un-install unneeded programs monthly?

Another aspect to the general maintenance of your computer is keeping a clean hard drive and registry.One of the best solutions for that purpose is CCleaner which we’ve also mentioned before.

If you know of any other software update checkers that we can add to the list, let us know. File Hippo’s service in particular is a really great way to keep updated on some of the latest software. Keeping track of all the latest software for your PC can be a daunting task, and File Hippo’s service, makes it that much easier.