Protecting a computer system has become one of the most important tasks for computer users in the past decade. While you had your fair share of viruses, hacks and all that stuff on computer systems like the C-64 or Amiga as well, they have never managed to spread far thanks to expensive modems and data plans. Malicious software today benefits from the fact that most computers are not patched properly but still connected to the Internet.
The attacks often exploit vulnerabilities in popular software programs or operating systems.
Software like Patch My PC can aid users in the tasks. The program scans the Windows PC for popular software programs that are out of date offering to download and install the patches and new versions automatically.
The application supports the following programs: Adobe Air, Adobe Flash AX, Adobe Flash Plugin, Adobe Reader, Apple Safari, Audacity, CCleaner, Defraggler, Dropbox, Firefox, Foxit Reader, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Imgburn, iTunes, Java, Keepass, MalwareBytes, Notepad ++, Opera, Pidgen Chat, Piscasa, PowerISO, Quicktime, Real Player, Shockwave, Silverlight, Skype, Speccy, Spybot, Search And Destroy, Thunderbird, VLC Player, Winrar, Yahoo Messenger
Outdated software will be highlighted in red color, up to date software in green and not installed or detected software in gray.
All programs and plugins that have been identified as "not recent" by Patch My PC will be listed under the Update Process listing in the main interface. Only the current version of the program is displayed here, which makes it more difficulty to verify which new version has been released. for each individual program.
A click on the run updates button downloads all available updates for common (aka popular) products and all updates for checked optional software products. You can click on Optional Software first to select some or all programs there that need updating. It is recommended to check the findings prior to installing the updates to include the updates in the process.
A right-click on an entry under Common Updates opens a context menu with options to skip a particular update or to install or re-install the application.
Some updates may require that certain programs like browsers are closed by the user prior to installation. This is for instance the case when installing technologies like Flash or Java that integrate as plugins into web browsers.
All updates are applied as silent updates that require no user interaction.
It is recommended to create a Restore Point in the menu prior to installing updates. While Windows may create updates automatically on software installations, there is no guarantee that this is happening on all installations.
I would recommend running the Uninstall a Program control panel applet in the background to verify that new versions were successfully installed.
Patch My PC can furthermore check for Windows Updates right from the program window. The native Windows Update app is linked under the Windows Tools section as well. The program can check for and install Windows Updates automatically.
The Windows Tools section links to Windows System Tools like the Windows Firewall, Windows Backup, the Device Manager or the Task Manager.
What's missing? An option to run a specific software update only, and options to schedule silent checks and installation of updates in the background.
The software catalog is not as big as that of comparable programs like Sumo (see Battle of the Software Updaters for more suggestions). It is also noteworthy that the program does not check beta or alpha versions.
Windows users can download the latest version of Patch My PC from the developer website. The program is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system.
Update: The most recent version of Patch My PC supports hundreds of applications. The interface has been changed slightly as well, with tabs now displayed at the top and not on the left side anymore.
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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.