DoubleClicks.info About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

May 19, 2015

PC Spring Cleaning, Part 3

The last two weeks we looked at some of the ways you need to physically clean your computer for spring or any other time of the year.

Today we will clean your computer’s software.

First, make sure that you are regularly checking your Operating Systems upgrades, i.e. HaWindows 7, 8.1, etc.  Yes, you may have it set to automatically run updates; however, you need to make sure you have the latest every now and then.  Check your update settings by going to Start and typing, "Windows Update," then clicking the "Change Settings."  Check the appropriate choices.  They will make sense to you.  If not, Google for a description.  Mine is set to check for important updates, but let me choose to download and install, give me recommended updates and finally, give me updates for other MS updates.  I am comfortable with those choices but you may not be. Change them and nothing will hurt you, unless you never update.

Windows Update

The funny thing is there is no choice to download and install optional updates.  To get all offered updates for your devices, occasionally check Windows Update for all available updates, including optional updates. I always install those too; however, that is your choice.  This is why you should manually run Windows Updates monthly.  I also suggest you do this after the second week of the month due to, "Patch Tuesday."  Patch Tuesday occurs on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month in North America.  This is when Microsoft sends out all of the items for download to your system for updates.  Wait until after that time and you will get them all.

All of your other software is harder to update but you should take a stab at it on occasion.  You could check most every application you have on your computer by opening the app, going to "Help" then either "Check for Updates" or "About" which is where they are usually found.  Then run the recommended update.

There are also several applications you can get to check your other applications’ updates.  However, none of them are perfect.  I regularly compare several of the main ones and usually get varying results.

  • FileHippo App Manager (filehippo.com) – the one I use most often and is quick and easy. Use the "Download our free app manager" link only.Kaspersky Software Updater (kaspersky.com/free-tools) – good and can be set to run on a schedule of your choosing.
  • Secunia PSI (secunia.com/psi) – I have used this the longest, if you run the scan manually it takes a good while. It also appears to search more apps than the others.
  • SUMo (kcsoftwares.com) – finds many apps; however is the hardest to use of all I have tested.
  • Update Notifier (cleansofts.org) – a simple one but still finds many. Check settings to not get beta updates. 

I ran all of these as well as a couple of others today.  I got varying results and none of them match.  So I guess you could run all of them for better coverage.  I alternate between FileHippo (quick and thorough) and Secunia (slow but very thorough) but they both find apps the other one misses…go figure.

FileHippo

Secunia-PSI

January 20, 2015

Updating Your Apps

I know you are all running Windows Update on your PCs.  Well, let me back off a bit on that.  If you have Windows 7 or before you should be running it manually or setting it to run automatically.  Windows 8 on comes with the default for Windows Update to automatically run so you do not have to worry about it.  What it does is check for and install updates to Microsoft Windows and possibly Office (depending on your version and configuration).  That way you are always operating at greatest efficiency and more securely in Windows.

Five years ago someone wrote asking me for ways to make sure all of their non-Microsoft applications were running the latest versions.  I told you about, “Secunia PSI“.  This application scans many of your applications in the background and recommends when updates are available.  It does a pretty good job; however, in my opinion, it is a bit clunky and more difficult to use than one I discovered several months ago.  Search for the old article on DoubleClicks.info if you are interested.

The one I use now is called “FileHippo App Manager” and is smoother and easier to operate. There are a couple of things you should be aware of on the installation.  First is that when you go to the link above there are two green “Download” links.  Use the one in the upper right side of the page which says, “Download latest version.”  As it installs it will ask you some general questions.  I would uncheck, “Run at startup.”  Many programs want to do this but it will slow your computer down.

FileHippo Scan Screen

FileHippo Scan Screen

When it is complete double click the blue icon on your desktop for FileHippo.  A small box will pop up showing it is running.  After a few moments your browser will open with (I’m guessing here) a long list of applications needing updates.  You can click on them one at a time, download them and install their updates.  Once finished you may close your browser and the FileHippo box will still be on your screen.  Click the “X” in the upper right hand corner and it will close.

Sample screen from FileHippo App Manager

Sample screen from FileHippo App Manager

Not every program on your computer is checked by this program.  However, neither Secunia nor the others I have tested in the past get them all.  There are just too many programs for one app to catch every one.

Have fun updating some apps and look forward to getting the final, “Congratulations!  Your computer is up-to-date!” message from FileHippo App Manager.

January 17, 2011

2011-01-17 Show Notes

Here you go, the links we talked about this morning on the call in show.  Try them out, enjoy them and let me know what you think.

Have a great day!


Security Essentials
http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/
Get high-quality, hassle-free antivirus protection for your home or small business PC now. It’s from Microsoft and works great per all f the test parameters.

Slim Computer
http://www.slimcomputer.com/
Tired of Getting Resource-Draining Promotions on a New PC? The solution is innovative software with community-sourced feedback to remove & disable unneeded software. Optimize your system with push- button controls that let you disable services, remove links & uninstall the software you never asked for.

Secunia – PSI
http://secunia.com/vulnerability_scanning/personal/
Keep all of your software updated. This is just like Windows Update but for most all of your other applications.  Whether you have a new or old computer I highly recommend you install it.  Make sure you download the PSI version (Personal Security Inspector).

Speccy
http://www.piriform.com/speccy
Speccy is an advanced System Information tool for your PC. Need to find out what’s inside your computer? No problem! Speccy will give you all the information you need. Once you run it you can save the report, print it or just run it again the next time you need to know what type of hardware and OS you have running.

Ninite Easy PC Setup – Silent Unattended Install Multiple Programs At Once
http://ninite.com/
Ninite – you never have to install same old apps individually, again on your next computer.

  1. Pick your favorite software.
  2. Click "Get Installer".
  3. Run it.
  4. You’re done!

ZamZar
http://zamzar.com/
Convert a large number of file types to another type. For instance, enter a YouTube video on ZamZar and have it converted to .MP3. One of Ron’s favorites is to convert a PDF file to Word format so that it can be edited…free.

Archive.org/The Wayback Machine
http://www.archive.org/
The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, they provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.  Plus you can go back in time and look at many websites from years ago.

1 Sale A Day
http://1saleaday.com/
Get good prices on wireless, watches, family jewelry products at deep discounts and of course, “The Deal of the Day”.  They change everyday at midnight (or really close to it) which is when the old sales go off and the new ones come on.

Mentioned by a caller (Ron has never tested this or tried it…yet):
DSL
http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/
DSL was originally developed as an experiment to see how many usable desktop applications can fit inside a 50MB live CD. It was at first just a personal tool/toy. But over time Damn Small Linux grew into a community project with hundreds of development hours put into refinements including a fully automated remote and local application installation system and a very versatile backup and restore system which may be used with any writable media including a hard drive, a floppy drive, or a USB device.

Talk to you next time.

January 11, 2011

2010’s Links in Review

Years ago I started a column about sites mentioned in the column from the previous year. It usually runs the first couple of columns in the New Year. By-the-way, as hard as it is for me to believe, today starts my tenth year writing, “Double Click.” Thanks to all of you readers who read it and write me each week! The year in review column was a lark on my part; however, I found that many of you enjoyed it, so here it is for 2010. Have fun remembering, discovering, or rediscovering all the info! If you prefer to click on links and not type all of these, visit the DoubleClicks.info site and click away.

If the site addresses are too long to type I have shortened them with, “bit.ly” which is mentioned below. All of these sites should be free (or have a free version) unless marked “nf”.

Without further ado…here they are in their order of appearance with short descriptions of each.

Next week we will visit part 2 of last year’s links.

February 2, 2010

Help with Application Updates

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Ron @ 5:22 am

I got an email from a reader in Mt. Crawford over a month ago asking an excellent question.  They wanted to know if there was a way to keep all of their programs up to date, keeping the latest version always on their system.

In talking back and forth with them we came to the conclusion that there should be something on the market that was similar to “Windows Update”.  WU comes with all versions of Microsoft windows as all of my readers should know.  It allows you to check and see if there are any new versions of your MS products that need updating.  If there are, it allows you to update them so that you can stay ahead of the curve.

After a little Googling and searching I found a program called Secunia-PSI.  I have no idea what “Secunia” means but PSI is for “Personal Software Inspector”.  This program does almost everything the reader wanted.  I have been testing it for a little over a month and it seems to work very well.

Visit Secunia-PSIYou can go to secunia.com to read about and download the personal edition of the application.  There are actually three different versions of Secunia.  They are OSI (Online), PSI (Personal) and CSI (Corporate).  I tried the OSI and it was adequate but does not look for as many programs as the PSI and CSI versions.  The CSI version is really for the corporate environment and home users do not need it.  All three are here: bit.ly/bx3f5u.

All versions are free but I recommend downloading/installing the PSI version which seems to  be very thorough.  You will find it in the middle of the three on the page recommended above.

The default setting for Secunia runs in the background all the time checking your computer’s software for updates.  I leave it like that on my desktop since I have loads of memory. However, for my netbook I just run it once a week or so.

I pride myself in always keeping all of my software up to date, so let’s take a look at how my three computers faired after being scanned by Secunia.

My netbook scored 100% as all of my software was up-to-date, yeah!

My notebook didn’t do as well.  There were four applications that weren’t up to standards.  But I still did better than 15% of users in Virginia; Secunia gives you this info if you register the product.  (free)

Now my pride and joy, my desktop computer…oops, I had 11 applications that were not where they should be.  I spent about an hour uninstalling some old versions which Secunia advised me to do, before I updated them.  I also downloaded some of the new versions from the links provided by Secunia.  And I learned a valuable lesson, as the bible says, “Pride goes before destruction.”

Now, let’s look at  a couple of drawbacks.  It indicated that all three browsers on my system were insecure and needed updates.  They are MSIE, Firefox and Google Chrome.  Come on, give me a break!  They were all updated and as secure as possible.  I guess it wanted me to uninstall all three of them. Of course, then my surfing the net time would be cut down considerably.  I decided to ignore those threats.  You can always make rules to ignore certain warnings.

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