I rarely check if updates are available for the majority of software programs that I have installed on my system. The reason behind this is simple. It takes a lot of time to check the websites of the developers - if they are known - and compare versions. I had to check for updates regularly which means that I would be occupied and could not do more important tasks. My estimation would be that it would take roughly between 6 and 10 hours a month to keep all of my software up to date.
The Secunia Personal Software Inspector is checking your system for installed programs automatically and alerts you when it finds a outdated version. Its main purpose is to check for security vulnerabilities in the applications but it can only report them if an update or fix is available.
A System score is given after the initial scan of the system. I received a somewhat disappointing 76% score mainly due to outdated programs that I no longer use and several applications that were listed four to five times. It reminded me of a few programs like Winamp or Winrar which I no longer used and it did not make much sense to keep them on my system.
A great feature of the Personal Software Inspector is that it provides Direct Download Links and additional information to many applications listed. It seems to work only with the Internet Explorer at the moment and Secunia claims that the software is able to detect more than 4200 applications.
There is however another side that I would like to address: Privacy concerns:
After examining all the files on your local hard drive(s), the collected data is sent to Secunia's servers, which match the data against the Secunia File Signatures engine (https://psi.secunia.com/) to determine the exact applications installed on your system.
While this does not seem to include personal data it is still a matter of concern to me. I don't like Microsoft to scan my system for possible software updates and I don't like anyone else to do the same.
The data sent to Secunia is non-personal data only. The data is generic, standardized, and originates from installed programs on your computer. All data will be deleted automatically no later than 12 months after you terminate using the program or immediately after you cancel your registration.
Twelve months is a long time in my opinion and I'm wondering why they would keep the records for such a long time.
Secunia will not share or sell specific data about individuals with any third parties. Only aggregate statistical which can't be related directly to any individuals will be published and shared with third parties.
This pretty much means that they sell the collected data as soon as they got rid of any personal information.
If you use Windows Update for instance you surely would not mind at all to use the Personal Software Inspector. Users with paranoia or privacy concerns will surely not use it.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.