I've already mentioned the File Hippo Update Checker but a few others have appeared recently that do a bit more for you and may well be worth checking out…
AppSnap scans your PC and compares your installed applications against its database of latest version numbers. It'll then display all of your applications in a list, allowing you to download and re-install, upgrade or even uninstall them.
You can ask it to display a list of any applications that can be upgraded with both the current and possible version numbers. Just select those you want upgraded and click on the Upgrade button. AppSnap will then download them, uninstall the old version if required and install the new one for you.
The versions database is stored locally but it has a facility to allow you to download and update to the current version. You can even list those applications from its database that you don't have installed and install them if you want.
UpdateStar is a utility that lets you stay up-to-date with all of your personal software. With a database of over 80,000 freeware, shareware and commercial applications it covers a fair number of the applications that you're likely to have lurking around your hard drive.
UpdateStar can be set to do an automatic update search daily, weekly or monthly and will notify you when an update for one of your programs is available, offering you information and download options as well as licensing links in the case of a commercial product or update. it'll also let you modify or uninstall applications as well.
Both of the above utilities have their good and bad points and I found myself using both of them. I really like the way AppSnap lets you install multiple updates and it seemed the much faster of the two but it's less configurable and UpdateStar recognised far more of my installed applications. However, with UpdateStar you have to download and then install the updates manually so more ineraction is required.
In short, neither will do the full job for you as there will always be something you have that they don't have in their databases but they do help keep you up date, which will save you some time in the long run.
Related Posts: Software Update Checkers