Only the Latest Updates for the Software on Your PC

very good
key review info
application features
  • Stay up-to-date with your software
  • (3 more, see all...)

Few users know for sure the amount of software installed on their systems and have lesser knowledge of the number of applications in serious need of an update. Why? Because some of them do not provide automatic check for updates, users disable this function or are content with the way things are at the moment and do not look for a newer version of the respective software.

And yet a non-updated software version may be the perfect door for all sort of vulnerabilities to assault your computer. But this does not mean that you should check software publisher's websites every day for the latest version of their product. There are far easier ways to do this considering the creativity of the devs and how they always meet user's requirements.

If you find yourself facing such a situation, a simple solution like an application that scans your computer for software versions installed and then compares them with the latest available in its database would suffice to relieve you of unnecessary effort. And as the apps of such kind are turning more and more into a necessity, I am sure you will not have too much trouble finding a suitable one.

In any case, I give you UpdateStar, a freeware specially designed to cover the need of having every piece of code in the latest trends issued by the developer. It is neither large in size nor computer resource hungry (during our testing it was on a constant need of about 6 or 7 MB).

UpdateStar comes with a gorgeous interface, a perfect fit for Vista. Launching the application is not equivalent with its starting the scan process to find installations of outdated software, nevertheless you have the option in the first screen. The entire process is brief and pretty accurate and the only applications we had no information on via UpdateStar were not in application's database. Otherwise it will display the latest version available, be it a beta.

Besides intel on outdated software installed on your system the program also provides its users with pieces of news on important applications like Nero or Mozilla Firefox so one can say that UpdateStar can function as a news feeder as well. Immediately after scan process is completed you will benefit from a graph stating the outdated software on your computer, together with the total number of software detected and the amount that needs refreshing.

Program List screen displays all applications available on your computer and their state. All items that need an update are shown in bold characters and come with a red exclamation mark. Also, for most software you will get the version number installed on the PC and the current version available from the developer. In some cases you will have a direct download link as well.

Of course, UpdateStar does not cover all the programs you install (unless you are only using the most popular ones) but most of them are in their database. Direct download links are in almost the same situation, only these are available for much less software. The most popular software came with a direct download link but I must confess my surprise seeing that some heavy software came with no download link (ĀµTorrent, Revo Uninstaller, Maxthon, Ashampoo apps, Virtual Box or TVU Player).

Additional operations available include running the uninstaller of each program on the computer or getting more information on it directly from publisher's website (page opens automatically in the default browser). More than this, for some of them you can actually buy software licenses through UpdateStar as the app has established partnerships with software vendors, being able to promote special prices. However, I've seen purchase links for absolutely free programs (FileZilla, EasyCleaner, Foobar or OpenOffice).

The list of software detected by UpdateStar on your computer can be customized in order to view programs that fulfill certain requirements. Thus you can view all the apps that are up to date, older programs (all those detected by UpdateStar as outdated), unknown programs (UpdateStar has no information on them) or programs of unknown version.

Looking with a careful eye at the various lists supplied by UpdateStar you will realize that programs of unknown version and unknown programs are not too accurate. According to UpdateStar the test computer contained three Unknown Programs and 14 Programs of Unknown Version. That meant that enabling both these views would have provided a list of 16 items. Well, in our case it came to show 19 elements, out of which five of them were marked as unknown programs. Returning to Unknown Programs list the same three items as before were present.

UpdateStar functions with the input of all its users, enabling them to enrich the software database and the latest versions so that each member of this community benefits from the latest software updates on the market. Once an item is selected, you will notice in the lower right part of the screen the Send Update button. This way you can participate in supplying the latest information and maintain the database updated.

UpdateStar can be set to start with Windows and be enabled to perform automatic update searches either daily, weekly or monthly according to a user-defined schedule. I wish its automatic feed reader would have covered more news than what was displayed during our testing.

The application is great looking and its services are extremely valuable especially if you install a great deal of software on your computer. However, there are minor glitches that need to be corrected in order to make it indispensable. In one case it even displayed an inferior version than the one I had installed as the current version. Also, listing the programs using certain criteria is not too accurate and users may notice discrepancies.

The Good

Its looks are stunning and the ease of use is remarkable: a few clicks and you know if there is outdated software on your computer.

Users can have access to different lists of software and apps can be uninstalled directly from UpdateStar.

Searching for new software updates can take place automatically according to a user defined schedule.

The Bad

There are important programs that either are not in UpdateStar database or do not have a direct download link.

I submitted a few programs to their database and three days later these were not yet incorporated.

Betas are displayed as the latest version of an application. I wish there was a way to know in advance if the latest version is a beta or a final release.

The Truth

UpdateStar is free and even if it is not surgically accurate in all software cases it still comes as an asset for your system. It can be scheduled for new updates searching and allows user input of new information in the database. There are minor glitches to be corrected but all in all it makes for a good software updater.

It minimizes to system tray and I wish it could alert the user in some way (preferably pop up messages) when the scheduler is active when finding new updates.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:


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user interface 5
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4


final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
 
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