Review sources for software updates, Windows & otherwise
September 7, 2009 7:02 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite site for info about software patches & updates?

Developers of Windows and other software programs regularly patch/ update their programs. Do you have a favorite site that provides information on how essential a particular update is, whether it caused any bugs, etc?

My approach now is simply to wait a while before installing the latest updates, on the theory that the extra time will give the developer some time to get any bugs worked out.

I've also simply Googled the update in question, but this is a pretty scattershot approach, and more labor intensive to boot.
posted by woodman to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I like VersionTracker. I use it for Mac software, but I'm assuming the Windows section of the site is just as extensive. You can use the My Tools section to create an update watch list for software you use. As for how essential/buggy an update is, the user reviews often (but not always!) provide enough information to go on.
posted by dayintoday at 7:23 AM on September 7, 2009

FYI this has been a question in several recent job interviews. I usually babble on about using the site which is appropriate for the problem, split amongst vendor sites, google, and version tracker.
posted by Gungho at 7:28 AM on September 7, 2009

Best answer: The newsletter from is quite good at telling you about new windows patches and their effects. They're quite keen on the wait-and-see approach, which is reasonable enough.

Is this just for your own personal machine or some important business? If it's very important perhaps you could test out the patches on an identical machine?
posted by kg at 7:43 AM on September 7, 2009

As a site for OS X I use MacUpdate and in application form to see the same notes/auto-update, AppFresh.
posted by Doug Stewart at 7:52 AM on September 7, 2009 for Widows software.
Every update has a ChangeLog tab with a list of changes/fixes.

They also have an UpdateChecker which you may download (staggering 155 kB) and it will scan your computer's software list and compare it with the site's list compiling a tailored list of available updates. Last, but not least, they also provide RSS feed.
posted by noztran at 8:45 AM on September 7, 2009

Secunia Personal Software Inspector might help, though only so far as "how critical is to update this thing right now?" vulnerability fixing goes.
posted by Iosephus at 8:48 AM on September 7, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you for the suggestions! I'm a PC guy for the moment; that said --

* VersionTracker MyTools looks good; subscription service ($30 per year for 3 PC's?)

* WindowsSecrets is a great site; a paid subscription is required for Susan Bradley's Patch Watch, however (believe there's no fixed price, however) -- think this will probably end up being my preferred solution.

* FileHippo's a great site, but it doesn't provide reviews. The UpdateChecker wouldn't install on my WinXp machine.

* Have tried Secunia's PSI in the past & the scan is fairly slow; it also doesn't provide a quick overview of which updates are recommended -- just links that take you straight to the updates themselves.

We do have several machines available, so the suggestion to test a patch on just one machine initially is a good one.

Thanks again.
posted by woodman at 7:29 AM on September 9, 2009

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