Secunia PSI: Software updater for optimal security

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There is more to ensuring the protection of your computer than having an antivirus program installed, no matter how good it is. Outdated applications not only deprive you of their latest features but also from security-related fixes and improvements. There is still a large number of programs which lack an automatic update function and it’s hard to keep track of them manually.

Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) is a free software updater that analyzes and monitors your computer for insecure application installations by analyzing the meta-data of executables and library files released by the software developers.

Installation & Requirements

Secunia PSI installation is simple and smooth, involving only an essential configuration composed of choosing your language and tweaking the automatic update settings. The program lasts just a few seconds to install and runs on Windows XP SP3, Vista and 7.

However, you will need administrator rights to install and run the program. Even though Secunia PSI is free, no adware, spyware or additional programs are included in the installation.

Interface

At first run, Secunia PSI will require a scan to find all the software present on your computer (which can take a couple of minutes) and detect the programs that need to be updated. After that the application will scan for outdated software automatically, every time you launch it.

By clicking on the “Show Programs” button, Secunia PSI will display all of the programs currently installed on your system as large icons. The programs that need to be updated will be listed on top, in their own category along with their current status while Secunia PSI updates them. Keep in mind that not all programs can be updated automatically and in this case the Personal Software Inspector will notify you so you can do it manually.

All of the currently installed programs are listed with their version number and status. By right-clicking on any of them a small menu will let you “Ignore updates to this program” or “Show details” (program path and version).

Secunia PSI comes with a limited amount of settings, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You can enable the “Detailed view” that will display the installed programs as a list, instead of the default icon-based view. The “Start on boot” option will make the program start automatically with Windows and run unobtrusively in the system tray, a very useful feature that allows Secunia PSI to make sure everything is up to date with no effort from your part. The “Update handling” option lets you choose how Secunia PSI deals with outdated programs, namely automatically, download the updates and let the user handle them or simply notify the user without performing any automated action.

The last option is to scan individual drives, which can be very useful. By default the program only scans the system drive (usually C). Also, “Add program” is a nice feature that lets you submit a program to be evaluated for inclusion in the Secunia database in case the application was unable to detect it.

Pros

– Painless installation process with no adware or spyware included.

– Clean interface with a reduced number of settings to avoid confusion.

– Provides the option to run automatically at system boot and check for outdated programs with no user interaction required.

– Detects applications that are no longer supported.

Cons

– None worth mentioning.

Alternatives

R-Updater

– SUMo

Conclusion

Secunia Personal Software Inspector detects new program versions that contain security fixes and improvements so if the latest version of an application doesn’t contain a security update it may not detect it. Nevertheless, it does provide the most secure software versions with minimum user intervention, adding an extra layer of protection on top of the commonly used ones such antiviruses and firewall applications.

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