Trying to keep up with all the software updates put out by vendors every day is a never-ending task. With all these updates, software update checkers are a must-have for staying on top of software updates. These tools not only automatically deploy patches, but also provide you with a central location to check whether devices have been updated.
In this article, we’re going to look at the seven best software update checkers on the market. Our comparison includes a range of tools including patch management tools with automated patching, software updaters, and more. We’ve kept a lookout for those with highly-configurable GUI’s, custom dashboards, notifications, alerts, and automation capabilities.
Here is a list of the seven best software update tools:
- SolarWinds Patch Manager EDITOR’S CHOICE Our top pick for software updates. Patch management software for Windows that supports WSUS and SCCM with automated patching, a dashboard, patch compliance reports, and more.
- ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus Free patch management software with automated software deployment for Windows, macOS, and Linux devices.
- Kaseya VSA Remote monitoring and management (RMM) and patch management software with automated software updates, network discovery, reports, and more.
- Spiceworks Network Inventory Free network discovery software for Windows with automatic software updates, custom reports, and more.
- Connectwise Automate RMM and patch management software with automated software updates, device discovery, notifications, and more.
- ITarian Patch management software for Windows that can automatically discover devices and deploy updates, with reports, change management, and more.
- GFI LanGuard Patch management software with autodiscovery and automated software updates, reporting, and more.
Best Software Update Tools
SolarWinds Patch Manager is a patch management tool for Windows that can monitor and install software updates. SolarWinds Patch Manager uses automated patching to automatically update patches on devices. The platform is great for Windows environments as it can diagnose performance issues with Windows Update Agent. There is also integration with SCCM so you can manage endpoints with SCCM installed.
Monitoring the status of patches with SolarWinds Patch Manager is easy. Through the patch status dashboard, you can view available patches and see an overview of patches that are missing. Visualizations like pie charts provide you with more details. You can view a pie chart of the Top 10 patches missing to see where your network is vulnerable.
There are also patch compliance reports. Reports allow you to monitor patch status and find devices that need to be patched. The reporting feature is very useful for demonstrating regulatory compliance and showing that devices are updated if you are audited by a third party.
Prices start at $6,440 (£5,191), and it is available for Windows. You can start the 30-day free trial.
- Automated patching
- Patch compliance reports
- Integration with SCCM
- Custom package wizard
SolarWinds Patch Manager is our top pick for managing software updates. Its support for WSUS and SCCM gives you a reliable solution for managing Windows endpoints.
Get 30-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/patch-manager
OS: Windows Server 2012 or later & .NET 3.5
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is a free patch management tool that can automatically deploy patches to Windows, Mac OS, and Linux devices. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus scans endpoints to find those missing patches and pushes software updates to them. There is third party application support for over 350 different applications, including Adobe, Java, Google Chrome, Firefox, WinRAR, and more.
The status of patches can be tracked through web-based patch summary dashboards. From the dashboard, you can view the number of systems missing patches alongside the severity of the vulnerability. Visualization options include pie charts, which can display the status of patches and the health of connected systems.
You can use Patch management reports to monitor the status of patches throughout your network. For example, patch management reports provide you with a list of missing patches throughout the network. In contrast, the Vulnerable Systems Report provides details on both healthy and vulnerable systems. Reports can be scheduled to keep you updated.
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus made it to the top of our list of the best Linux patch management tools because is one of the best software update tools on the market for Linux. The software comes with a free version that supports up to 20 computers and five servers. Paid versions start at $245 (£197) for 50 computers, and it supports agents on Windows, macOS, and Linux. You can install the program on-premises and in the cloud. You can download the free trial from this link here.
- Automated patch deployment
- Supports over 350 third party applications
- Patch summary dashboard
- Web-based user interface
Kaseya VSA is a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that can be used to automatically scan and deploy software updates for Windows, Mac, and third-party software. Kaseya VSA enables you to use policy-based patch management to create policy profiles to control when patches are deployed.
For example, you can block specific patches for a machine or set of machines so that your devices aren’t updated without your permission. Software updates can be scheduled and approved to continually update your infrastructure. You can also use blackout windows to stop scheduling for a defined period of time.
Configuring the software is also quite simple, as you have the support of network discovery. You can discover devices and view them in a table. From there you can monitor extensive information on your asset inventory including Name, OS type, CPU, RAM, license, version, manufacturer, and more.
Kaseya VSA is a high-quality solution that’s ideal for enterprises looking for an all-in-one RMM and patch management tool. To view the pricing information for Kaseya VSA you must contact the company directly. It is available for Windows and macOS. You can start the 14-day free trial from this link here.
- Automated software updates
- Policy-based patch management
- Create policy profiles
- Network discovery
- Custom reports
- Remote control devices
Spiceworks Network Inventory is a network discovery tool that lets you scan for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix devices by IP range. Scans can be run one-off or you can schedule them for a future time to make sure that you’re ready to go. Once you’ve finished scanning devices, Spiceworks Network Inventory can automatically update software for Windows and Mac devices. You can also use the main table view to monitor the OS of devices manually.
The reports system gives you complete control over how you monitor your devices. You can choose between out-of-the-box reports or create custom ones from scratch. For example, you can generate a report on computers without an antivirus to view a summary of unprotected devices.
If there are any issues with devices then you can use the ticketing system to manage them with Spiceworks Help Desk. Users can add comments on IT tickets to make sure that any updates needed are carried out promptly.
Spiceworks Network Inventory is one of the top lightweight software update checkers for updating devices. It also has the advantage of being free. The software is available for Windows. You can download the tool from this link here.
- Automated software updates for Windows and Mac
- Ticketing system (with Spiceworks Help Desk)
- Custom reports
Connectwise Automate is an RMM solution that can automatically apply updates to third-party applications. Connectwise Automate supports a range of applications including Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader IX and DC, Apple iTunes, Google Chrome, Mozilla Thunderbird, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Skype for Business, PDF Creator, VLC Media Player, and more.
Automated asset discovery seamlessly discovers devices with network scans so you can monitor the software status of your devices. In effect, you can automatically discover a device and then deploy an agent. Managing your infrastructure in this way is incredibly efficient and allows you to stay on top of updates with ease. Automated notifications let you know when there are performance issues that need to be addressed.
Connectwise Automate is one of the top software update checkers on account of its blend of autodiscovery and patch management. The vendor provides customized quotes for customers, so you need to request a quote from the company directly for pricing information. You can download the free trial from this link here.
- Patch management
- Automated device discovery
- Remote control devices
ITarian is a patch management tool for Windows that can discover updates for Microsoft, Microsoft Security bulletin, and third-party applications. ITarian automatically discovers connected devices and identifies those that are missing patches. Discovering unpatched divides allows you to take action to eliminate the vulnerability.
Patches can be scheduled so that you can automatically deploy critical updates to run each day. You also have the option to prioritize patches based on severity, type, or vendor to make sure that your most important assets are patched before anything else.
You can also use the program’s change management capabilities to monitor patch policies. Here you can see patches that have been applied, those that are missing, and even failed deployments. You can also generate status and health reports to view more information on your infrastructure and prepare for compliance.
ITarian is one of the best software update checkers for enterprise users. The platform supports up to 50 endpoints for free. The price depends on the number of endpoints you need to manage. 100 Endpoints costs $75 (£60) per month. You can sign up for the program from this link here.
- Patch management
- Change Management
GFI LanGuard is a patch management tool that automatically discovers devices connected to your network. With GFI LanGuard you can discover updates for Windows, macOS, and Linux devices. You can automatically deploy updates to devices. If a patch disrupts your operations then you can use the roll-back feature to revert to an earlier version.
The platform maintains a list of over 60,000 known issues and vulnerabilities to test your network. There is also extensive support for third-party software with updates available from over 60 providers including Adobe Acrobat, Adobe, Mozilla Firefox, Java Runtime, Apple QuickTime, and more.
When it comes to managing regulatory compliance, you can create and schedule reports through a web-based console to highlight the patch status of your devices. Reports are compliant with a range of regulations including PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, PSN, and CoCo. Export reports in PDF, HTML, XLS, XLSX, RTF, and CSV.
GFI LanGuard is a great patch management solution that’s fully equipped to centrally manage a network full of devices. Pricing starts at $26 (£20) for 10-49 nodes. You can start the 30-day free trial from this link here.
- Identify over 60,000 known issues and vulnerabilities
- Patch rollback
- Generate reports
Choosing a Software Updater Tool
If your devices are going to stay in tip-top shape, then they need to be regularly updated. As the world found out during the 2017 Wannacry crisis, outdated OS’s with unpatched vulnerabilities are a liability. Software update checkers are essential tools for making sure that all devices stay updated with the latest protections.
Our top picks for the best software update checkers are SolarWinds Patch Management for Windows patch management and ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus for cross-platform patch management capabilities. The latter is also an excellent choice for those in search of a free tool.
Software Updater FAQ
What will upgrading firmware do?
Device providers regularly provide firmware updates to add new features and close of security vulnerabilities. Firmware upgrades also get issued when the provider discovers bugs in its coding for the operating system. As a general rule, you should always install any firmware update immediately.
How do I update my network adapter software?
The network adapter’s controlling software can be accessed through the network management utility of your device’s operating system. For example, in Windows, this is in the Device Manager, which can be located in the system settings. Under the Network adapters node, right-click on the adapter in question and select Update driver from the context menu.
What is patch management policy?
A patch management policy is a working practice that your company has decided upon and it sets rules on when and how to apply firmware and operating system patches. This might be settled by the use of an automated patch manager or it might be a manual workflow.
What are the common errors in patch management?
The biggest patch management problem is overlooking devices that need to be patched. The patching process is usually initiated when the producer of a device creates an update for a driver, firmware, or operating system. If that system has been deprecated, there will no longer be any patches for it. Not all patches are delivered automatically but need to be checked for.