A month of free software – 22. FileHippo.com Update Checker

Today’s free program from my toolbox is FileHippo.com Update Checker, a tiny Windows utility (150KB download) that tells you about updates to the programs you’re already using, and lets you quickly download them from one central location, FileHippo.com. Hey, what’s with the dot-com name? Sounds like a website and not a program? Nope, it’s a program, just a poorly named one. For this review I’ll just call it FHUC… That’s an interesting and memorable acronym.

Ease of use

Sample FHUC output

Sample FHUC output

The program simply looks at the software currently installed on the local PC and compares the version numbers with the ones available from FileHippo.com. The program’s output is a single web page that opens in your browser with a list of links for downloading new versions of your current software (plus a list of available beta versions of your current software).

Manually maintained software library

FileHippo.com has chosen to manually maintain their collection of software. This has advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, they provide a certain quality guarantee: They have checked and documented each of the programs in their collection, they only include quality programs, they abhor malware ridden applications, etc. On the negative side, they only provide links to software they have reviewed and that they are allowed to host, so you miss programs at both ends of the scale: You can’t use FHUC to find updates to your commercial programs, and there are many useful, free programs that just haven’t made their lists yet (including many of the free utilities I’ve written about in this series).

FileHippo.com's page for Google's Picasa

FileHippo.com's page for Google's Picasa

But I was surprised by how many “big name products” are available through FileHippo.com, such as drivers for all kinds of devices, a category of software where it can be very time consuming to stay updated.

FileHippo.com is useful in itself

Even if you don’t want to install the little FHUC program, the FileHippo.com website is a great tool in itself. For each of the supported programs, FileHippo.com has a page with information about the program: General description of the program, some screenshots, technical details about the supported operating systems, the program’s producers, its license, etc. along with links to download the newest version as well as often dozens of older versions of the program. For an example of a product page, see FileHippo’s page for Google’s Picasa (an image handling program). FileHippo.com is an interesting place to just browse for free (and try-before-you-buy) software, but the FHUC program makes staying up-to-date a much smoother and less time-consuming task.

7 Comments to “A month of free software – 22. FileHippo.com Update Checker”

  1. Jonny 2 February 2009 at 12:31 #

    I love filehippo.com, along with http://www.techsupportalert.com it is my top freeware site and as I hardly ever pay for software I love them! The updatechecker is one of my favourite update tools too. It has a few rivals though but I think it comes out top. Please have a look at my review of Software updaters here: 🙂 http://www.jonnysblog.com/2009/02/01/software-updaters-compared/

  2. perse adrian 6 September 2009 at 11:22 #

    Alternative you can use Filerex Update Checker from FileREX

    • Jan Karlsbjerg 9 September 2009 at 23:27 #

      Thanks for the tip. I couldn’t get the FileHippo tool to work on my Windows 7 machine, so I may try out your tool.

  3. Music Community 21 February 2010 at 6:01 #

    Sometimes the update checker doesn’t detect the software that needs updating. Have you experience it?

  4. Abioye Lukeman 27 March 2010 at 6:32 #

    Am using window 7 but the update checker works for sometimes and its stop working,does it mean that mine is outdated?

  5. midocu 29 July 2010 at 15:45 #

    I love filehippo.com, i think is the best on the market. This you could see also from the numbers of visitors on this website. Also i like http://www.filesincredible.com. I use this website almost every day for downloading the latest freeware software.
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