Ever since it was withdrawn from circulation/support in 2016, I’ve missed Secunia PSI (Personal Software Inspector) and its corporate cousin CSI (Corporate SI). Only lately have I started to look for a meaningful replacement. Recently, I came across the free Patch My PC Updater (Home) tool from Itarian (henceforth: PMPCU). It does what Secunia PSI used to do for most tools and applications known to humankind, except it’s limited to a list of 300 or so applications. These include common plugins and runtimes, browsers, multimedia, file compression tools, software and hardware utilities, and more. For a full list of applications covered, download, unzip and run PatchMyPC.exe. Its left-hand pane will show you all the programs it currently covers. Look to the head of this article to see what PMPCU shows me on my production PC right now.
Working with PMPCU
System requirements for the tool are pretty easy to meet: it requires .NET Framework 4.5 and Internet access. It’s a portable application so you can run it from an admin or tool UFD without having to install anything. Simply launch PatchMyPC.exe and it will report on the state of the target PC on which it’s running. I’ve been able to run it on my production, travel, and other test PCs simply by copying and executing the .exe file on all of them. It will automatically update any out-of-date items if you click the button at the lower right that reads “Perform n Updates,” where n is the number of updates the program has determined are needed or warranted.
After you perform various updates, you may still notice items listed in red on PMPCU’s right-hand pane. If you look closely at its contents, you will see these are programs that have already been replaced with newer versions. Their built-in installers (which PMPCU uses in the background) aren’t smart enough to uninstall older versions when they install newer ones. This means you must uninstall them yourself. You can use PMPCU to do this too, but you must record the names of the items in red, then switch to the uninstaller tool, find the outdated items and click the uninstall button to make them go away. I wish the developers would at least carry over the color coding (show the outdated items in red) to make this a little easier on end users, but it does work as it should otherwise. Here’s what I see on my Lenovo X380 Yoga, which needs older versions of CrystalDiskInfo and CrystalDiskMark to be uninstalled manually:
Notice that CrystalDiskInfo 7.0.5 is highlighted. I can now click the Uninstall button at top right and the tool does the rest.
[Click image for full-sized view.]
The tool is even smart enough to ask if you want to terminate running processes before it gets down to work. Apparently, this PC needs a Firefox update and I’ve got this very article open in WordPress on Firefox, so I’m glad it asked! (I’ll wait until I’ve posted this article before I finish up that work, with some gratitude and bemusement).
This is a good, usable tool, if a limited one. If you can live with the updates it can provide, good on you. If you, like me, have other programs that PMPCU does not deal with, it’s an incomplete if still welcome solution. Here’s what Software Update Monitor (SUMo) shows me needs updating (ignore Firefox, because I’ve already explained why I’ve not yet updated that program) above and beyond what PMPCU handles (20 items total):
I count 20 items (ignoring Firefox) also in need of updating, beyond what PMPCU tells me. Sigh.
[Click image for full-sized view.]
To answer the inevitable question: “Why not use SUMo instead?” I reply by saying that SUMo requires its users to visit the vendor’s website, find the update (not always easy or straightforward) and perform the update manually themselves (ditto). This, despite paying around US$30 for the privilege of obtaining this information (the program is NOT free). For some odd reason or another, that just doesn’t do it for me — though it is useful information.
I’ll do what I can with PMPCU and rely on periodic checks to see what else needs updating to keep my PCs up-to-date. I suspect many other readers will do likewise.
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.