Applications that don’t get updated are annoying at best, and dangerous at worst: some just don’t work properly, while others have vulnerabilities that can leave us open to hacking attacks. Of course, we're all guilty of skimping on updates from time to time. And that’s understandable: Who has time to manually go and look for update options in each application? And why aren’t many of these applications built with an automatic update mechanism in mind?
1. Java (Runtime 6, 7, 8)
More than 56 million users (that’s almost half of our sampled user base) are running one version of Java Runtime Environment, which is the source of some of the most critical vulnerabilities on Windows PCs (see here for a shocking list). Almost half of them (24 million) are running the outdated JRE 6 or 7.
Unfortunately, even when you’re on the latest release (version 8), chances are high you’re not running the latest version: 70% of all Java Runtime Environment 8 users haven’t updated to the latest build.
2. Flash (ActiveX)
The ancient web technology Flash is infamous for its security exploits and other issues (e.g. draining battery life and performance). The Flash ActiveX control for Internet Explorer is outdated in 99% of all instances. In fact, uninstall it now if you don’t use Internet Explorer!
Other browsers like Firefox, Chrome or Opera use the Flash plugin, which is only outdated in 38% of all cases – still pretty bad.
3. FoxIt Reader
Popular 3rd party PDF reader “FoxIt” also doesn’t seem to come to the average user’s mind when thinking about updates. 92% of all FoxIt users are working with an older version. You’re missing out on feature updates, bugfixes and also security fixes if you don’t update regularly.
4. GOM Media Player
“The only player you’ll ever need” might as well be telling its users never to bother with update. 90% of our users aren’t running the latest version, which is a shame because GOMlab provides a ton of upgrades on an almost monthly basis, including enhanced playback performance and more video filters.
5. Nitro Pro
The less popular, but also often outdated PDF reader is also neglected in 89% of all cases. Same as above: The lack of updates means you’re dealing with bugs and vulnerabilities. However, the free release is being updated much more frequently.
I remember using WinZip on a daily basis back in the Windows 95 and 98 days for compressing files and saving space on a 4 GB hard disk. The tool is still around in 2016 and while I’m certain no one is using the first WinZip version from that era, over 87% aren’t running the latest release which comes with some nifty features and fixes.
A blast from the past! Once the leader in making sure movies ripped from DVDs run properly, it’s now only installed on a small percentage of our user base. Unfortunately, 86% are running an older version and are missing out on the latest features like screen-casting or syncing videos with cloud storage providers like Dropbox.
8. Adobe Shockwave
The “other” free web player (this one from Adobe) is being used in high-performance games andor other more interactive desktop or and web applications. But just like its sibling, it’s also not free of security issues. All the more important you don’t belong to the 84% of users who have not updated yet to the latest version.
82% of all 7-Zip users run an out-of-date version of the the file archiver, likely due to a lack of nagging or easily accessible update mechanism. Plus, it’s probably not on the list of applications users think about updating – because it just works! Well, bad news: Due to its popularity, 7-Zip it might also fall prey to hackers.
With over 73% out of date, most Firefox users aren’t enjoying the latest release and might be missing out on security fixes and new features.
So how can you update your Windows applications?
Now, we’re not just picking on these applications to be mean. Quite the contrary, we think of them highly, and there’s a reason some of them have millions of users: they’re fantastic and do what they do amazingly well. But that also means the stakes are higher for them. It’s important that effective update mechanisms be put in place for all applications, and we’re trying to push that message with the research we're doing.
In the meantime, we’re doing our part with TuneUp’s new Software Updater, which right now covers a growing list of popular applications by checking for updates and pushing them through automatically in the background.
Are some of these applications on your list? Give AVG PC TuneUp a try (free for 30-days) and update them all.