To update or not; that is the question. “I keep getting all these pop-ups that want me to update stuff and I never know what to do. Which ones should I do?” I’ve heard this many times over the years and could never answer satisfactorily. I usually tell people to accept the Windows updates and always do updates for their anti-virus software and call me or email me about the rest. I think I can offer a better answer now for those that want to do as much of their own program maintenance as they can.
What we are talking about here are security breaches that can happen when you have old software which has been attacked by cyber criminals that find ways to get into your computer by some kind of back door route. Most legitimate software vendors issue patches when breaches occur but the problem is you don’t always know about either the threat or the solution.
Now comes a solution from Secunia Software. Their recent release of Personal Software Inspector Version 3.0 (PSI 3) gives users a free program that checks systems for outdated software from about 3000 vendors and makes it easy enough for the average user. You can find a complete review at pcmag.com as quoted here: “By default, the program launches at boot time and checks for programs needing an update. In this mode it keeps all your programs up to date with almost no effort on your part. You may choose to turn off these settings and launch it manually; just don’t forget… Secunia Personal Software Inspector 3.0 takes the sting out of patch management for home users. With a tool like this available for free, there’s no excuse for using outdated applications.”
Is PSI 3 perfect? No, but it takes your security game up another notch and with a little attention you can overcome the few shortcomings. I do recommend that you download PSI 3 and allow it to run upon startup of your PCs and also allow it to update automatically. I have been using the older versions of PSI and their online product OSI for years and have confidence in both products.
One thing you will probably be surprised at when you first run PSI 3 is how many programs you have on your PC that you had forgotten about. The list generated may prompt you to remove some that are no longer needed. Uninstall old ones rather than update them when you can. You may also find that PSI lists some programs that you had previously uninstalled. It likely found some remnants and dead files that were associated with the old programs. You can right click on them in the list and choose “ignore updates”.
Not all programs can be updated under the PSI umbrella. Some will be identified as requiring manual updates: another chance for you to cull unneeded programs.
If you find PSI slows down your startups noticeably, run the program manually; just remember to do it.
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