How to check for new versions and updates to all the most common free programs – automatically. We already covered how to use Ninite to install or update common free programs – especially useful if you have a new computer (or have just reinstalled Windows).
However, many people prefer to keep full control of which updates they apply and also find that Ninite does not cover new programs they might install after the initial Ninite setup. An excellent free alternative is the Update Checker program from FileHippo.
“The Update Checker will scan your computer for installed software, check the versions and then check if there are any newer releases. These are then neatly displayed in your browser for you to download and install.”
It works on Windows 7/Vista/XP, is tiny in size and only takes a few seconds to run. Obviously it can’t support every program in the world but the program list is extensive and covers all the most common free programs e.g. browsers, antivirus, Adobe Flash, Shockwave, Reader, Java, Ccleaner, Skype, Itunes and hundreds more.
How To Install It?
- Download the Update Checker program from FileHippo here.
- Install the program – accept all the default (ticked) options for now.
- Once installed the program will run automatically and check for any updates – you should see the Update Checker program icon in the system tray (bottom right corner of the screen).
- Do not try to view the results yet – it is important to customize them first to suit you.
How To Customize It?
Right click on the dark brown Update Checker icon in the system tray and select ‘Settings’:
In the Settings window, click the ‘Results’ tab:
Leave the ‘Open results in’ selection pointing to your ‘Default Browser’.
Tick the box to ‘Hide beta versions’ – we highly recommend that you do this! Beta version updates are for testing purposes only – they are not suitable for general use and may contain major errors.
Now click the ‘Advanced’ tab:
Tick the box to ‘Close program if no updates are found’. No point leaving the program running if it has checked and found no updates.
Tick the box to ‘Run Update Checker when Windows starts’. It will check automatically when Windows starts and warn you if updates are found – if there are none found then the above setting will close the Checker.
Now press the ‘OK’ button to close the Settings window.
How To Use It?
- Double click on the Update Checker program icon in the system tray (or right click on it and choose ‘view results’) to view your results.
- Your results will open in a webpage and show all the updates it detected as in the example below:
- Click on the green down-arrow next to an update to download it ready for installation.
- Repeat for each available update.
- Once all the updates have been downloaded, close your web browser and install them.
If you customized the Update Checker as we suggested above, it will check for updates each time you start Windows – if none are found it will automatically close the program.