It's been a while since I've compared various software update checkers and I felt that it was time to download and test the old applications and several new ones again for a second comparison. Before I start that I would like to write about the criteria that are important in the test. There are basically three elements that are of importance when looking at software update checkers: The number of updates that have been identified, the number of false positives and the usability of the application.
The number of updates that are found and the false positives play hand in hand obviously. Both parameters are weighted carefully while usability concentrates on the ease of use.
I began the comparison by installing all software update checkers from the above list running their check once all of them had been installed. This was the easiest way to compare their results, the found software updates. After that I checked the validity of the updates that had been found. Did the list include false positives ? This could include previous versions of applications or applications that have been reported that were not installed on the test system.
Lastly the usability was examined. Was it easy to use the application and download the updates ?
There was only one application with 0 false positives and that was the File Hippo Update Checker. It also detected the most applications that needed an update because of the inclusion of beta updates in the list. It detected six regular updates and four beta updates. The report was displayed on a website with download links to the updates, each update had to be downloaded and installed separately.
Sumo came in second with eight updates that have been discovered during the scan. Four of the updates were updates from a non-commercial version to the latest commercial version. These were marked specifically. Each download was linked to a specific page on the developers website that contained lots of advertisement and links to searches for the application.
Every other updater examined failed the test. Radarsync reported 3 updates of which 2 were false positives, Appsnap discovered 2 of which 1 was a false positive, App Updater found 0 and crashed repeatedly, Update Star found 7 of which 5 were commercial updates and Secunia PSI found 0.
That's a pretty disappointing result. The only two applications that I can recommend at the moment are File Hippo Update Checker and Sumo. Every other application failed the test.