Soft2Base 2.0b keeps 61 major Windows apps up to date
Package managers are one of the best features of Linux, (mostly) straightforward tools that make it easy to install and update your preferred applications. Nothing gets even close to this on Windows, but several tools do at least enough to be useful, and the free-for-personal-use Soft2Base 2.0b is one new release that could save you some time.
The program is extremely lightweight. There’s no installer, not even a ZIP file of supporting files: everything you need is in a single 880KB executable, just download it and go.
And once you do that you’ll immediately see a list of supported applications. There’s only 61, but the authors have at least included plenty of big names, including Adobe Reader, Firefox, Google Earth, Firefox, iTunes, Thunderbird and more.
Every application on the list has an icon that indicates its status. A green equals sign if the current version is already installed, a purple download icon if a new version is available, and a blue plus sign to tell you that it isn’t installed right now.
Display filters then help you cut this report down to size. Are you looking only for programs which need updates, say? Then check only “Installed to be updated”, and that’s all you’ll see. Or maybe you’re hoping to equip your PC with new tools? Just click “Not installed”.
Finally, select the programs you’d like to update by checking their boxes, click Next > Install, and Soft2Base will download and install the chosen applications for you. (By default it’ll run a silent installation, although the program can just download the installers if you prefer to run them manually, later.)
Does this work? We spotted one apparent issue. Soft2Base is supposed to support Google Chrome, but when we clicked the Browsers section on our test PC we saw only Firefox and Opera: there was no sign that Chrome was installed, and no way to add it to our system.
Otherwise, though, the program worked very well, correctly installing and updating a host of programs for us. We’d like to know more about the Google Chrome problem, and Soft2Base could benefit from supporting more applications, but on balance it’s a compact and likeable tool which makes it much easier to manage your installed software.