It’s important for your PC’s security to install application updates just as soon as they become available, but if a program doesn’t check for these itself then that can be a challenge. Unless you have the time to monitor every application website yourself then you’ll probably need some third-party help, and the latest candidate is the free and portable AutoUP.
The program provides support for updating 68 applications, which isn’t in itself particularly impressive, but there are at least plenty of major names in the list: Adobe AIR/ Flash/ Reader, CCleaner, Evernote, Firefox, Foxit Reader, Chrome, KeePass, Paint.NET, VLC Media Player, and more. (The full list is here).
Launch AutoUP, and it’ll display any supported programs it finds on your system, along with the current version number. Choose any you’re particularly interested in (or right-click and select Check All to highlight everything), click Scan and you’ll be quickly alerted to any updates (regular or beta) which might be available.
All you then have to do is choose any updates you’d like to install, click Download, and the program will grab the various files to the folder of your choice. Unlike the similar Patch My PC, it won’t also try to install these for you, but we’re not sure that really matters (personally we like to keep some control of our updates).
And just in case this isn’t enough functionality, click the Software tab and AutoUP will display all its supported applications, whether they’re present or not. If you’re setting up a new PC, say, and want to install Audacity, Blender, Defraggler or anything else on the list, simply check the relevant boxes, click Download and the program will grab the latest versions for you.
We did spot a few interface quirks and other problems with AutoUP.
There’s no immediately obvious way to scan everything for updates when you first launch the program, for instance.
Clicking the Download button opens new dialog, which then pointlessly waits until you click Download again.
And once it’s grabbed everything, you’d expect to be left with a “Close” option, but only the “Download” button remains (and clicking that produces an error message). So you’re left to click the regular window close button in the top-right corner.
Once you’ve learned the basics, though, none of these issues will get in the way of AutoUP’s core functionality. And while we’d like it to support more applications, on balance the program remains a straightforward and very useful software update checker.