I have a slight case of OCD when it comes to updating my apps. Doesn’t matter if it’s for my iPhone, Mac, Windows PC….whatever. I have this compulsive need to have the latest, shiniest version. It’s like getting Christmas presents! (OK, I may need help) Sometimes I go really overboard and even switch to beta versions, but I digress….

One of the most useful services I’ve run across is ninite.com, it’s a service that is incredibly useful and simple to use. They have two utilities that I use often

Ninite Installer (FREE)

Basically you pick the applications that you want to install, and it downloads a single custom installer that installs everything for you. You’re thinking, OK, that’s cool. When I say it installs everything for you, I mean it installs it without you having to keep hitting the “Next” button to run through each installation. It also deselects any of the crapware or toolbars that are so common now! Also, if you have to install the same software on a bunch of computers, you can share the Ninite custom installer file too. Here’s a brief list of their features (from their website):

  • not bother you with any choices or options
  • install apps in their default location
  • say no to toolbars or extra junk
  • install 64-bit apps on 64-bit machines
  • install apps in your PC’s language or one you choose
  • do all its work in the background
  • install the latest stable version of an app
  • skip up-to-date apps
  • skip any reboot requests from installers
  • download apps from each publisher’s official site
  • verify digital signatures or hashes before running anything

Ninite Updater ($10/yr for home users, $20/mo for up to 100 machines for business users)

OK, it’s not free, but it’s less than a dollar a month, so not too bad. What the Updater does is, well, updates your software automatically so you pretty much never have to think about it. Like the Ninite Installer, you pick the apps you want to keep up to date and the Updater does the rest for you.

SUMMARY

No reason not to use either or both of these services! If you REALLY don’t want to pay for the Updater, there are obvious ways to use the Installer service to keep your programs up to date, but they’re not quite as efficient. Unfortunately, no OSX support, but that’s really the only shortcoming. There are other (free) alternatives to the Updater like FileHippo, but they don’t do everything automatically.