aNewDomain.net — Handling a home computer is one of the biggest frustrations for sysadmins. At work you have access to servers and software that make maintenance and upkeep a snap. At home, unless you really love IT, you don’t have a patch management server or a box running Windows Software Update Services (WSUS). Inevitably you probably have the same home desktop or laptop that most people have, but you actually know the importance of keeping it updated. Enter Secunia and its Personal Software Inspector (PSI).
The Secunia PSI is an entirely-free program built on Secunia’s own unique technology. The program operates much the way similar software does — by scanning a system and comparing the versions of present programs to a central repository. In this case, the PSI reports back a very simple list of those programs needing an update and a score. 100 percent means your system is completely updated.
Some programs can be automatically updated from the PSI, with absolutely no interaction from the user. Others may require a bit of interaction, such as a language selection. Still other updates require you to manually download and install them. In the last case, the Secunia PSI will direct you to the proper download location.
If you have software that you can’t or won’t update, you can easily exclude it from future scans. Once excluded, that program won’t count toward your score. If you’re unsure of the location of a piece of software in the scan, the PSI will give you that information.
The software is designed to run continuously in the background, though you can turn that function off and run it as needed. You can also disable automatic updates and even include or exclude specific hard drives. I’ve found it very efficient at keeping a system updated. While it rarely installs every update on my computers at home, it certainly makes the chore of security management a lot easier.
Secunia’s Personal Software Inspector is available for Windows XP (SP3) and later. You can download it here.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Jeremy Lesniak.