Updated: March 7, 2014
When you install Windows for the first time, all is dandy, and all your software is fully up to date. After a while, a gap starts to open in your software arsenal and some of the programs end up being outdated. Indeed, this is the biggest problem and major weakness in the Windows family of operating systems. Manual updates. If it's manual, it does not get done, and you're sort of worried about your security.
There are several applications out there, designed to help you fix, or at least, narrow down this gap. One of them is the Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI). Indeed, now and then, I come back to this program. Not because it's the best, but because it caters to people with OCD, like me. So let's see what it can do for us.
Installation & setup
I tried the latest version on Windows 8.1 that I happen to be testing and ranting about now and then. I did it on purpose, to see how well the latest edition of Microsoft's flagship handles this utility. If you look around, you will see there have been compatibility issues with PSI on top of Windows 8, but they seemed to have, or at least should have been, resolved.
The installation was simple and quick. You have the option to choose whether to download and install software updates automatically, download them and notify you, or do it manually. Somewhat like the standard Windows Update scheme.
Using PSI 3.0
Despite official reassurances that this software runs well on Windows 8.X, the GUI did stall several times, becoming unresponsive. I had to kill it a few times, then finally, Secunia loaded fine, and I got my initial security score.
The new user interface has been simplified. It's quite friendly actually. However, if you miss the details, you can switch to an advanced mode and see the action take place there, including updates. I find the new interface refreshing and effective.
Not all was golden. Occasional freezes and hiccups continued, but we might as well blame Windows 8.X for not being friendly. Furthermore, when I tried updating IrfanView, and then subsequently canceled the installation, the Personal Security Inspector still thought the installation was successful, so it does not check the exit status.
Finally, when I connected an external hard disk full of portable apps, and then did a new scan with Secunia, the program indexed all of the programs on the external media, filling my screen with pretty much irrelevant information.
Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI) 3.0 is a better tool than its predecessor, provided you have an operating system that won't cause too much trouble when running. The basic principles remain the same. You have an agent running in the system tray, and it will popup now and then to tell you there are some updates for your software. You can also let the program automatically obtain new versions.
All in all, the program is useful for what it does. It will not change your habits or make you immensely more secure, but it will help you run a tidy and updated system, if only because you seek perfection and order. In the long run, it might also provide some benefits of security, for what it has been designed. Overall, I guess 7/10. Enjoy.