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Author Topic: What do you use to keep track of your installed software?  (Read 11591 times)
Perry Mowbray
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« on: June 21, 2007, 03:25:39 AM »

Ever since I purchased FirstDefense-ISR from Raxco, which was a little after reading cthorpe's great review, and a little before they decided to stop selling the product, my desire to keep track of my software installations become more important.

Please Note Carl's Update:
Quote
UPDATE

Horizon DataSys Inc. has licensed the ISR technology from the original developer and is now selling the program.  From what I can tell, it is identical in every way to the Raxco offering (which was also licensed from the developer) other than it is re-branded.

FirstDefense is a great programme (goodness only knows why they decided to pull the plug on sales), and it's saved my bacon a couple of times in my short ownership, but it also gives me the ability to save snapshots of my C Drive at various points in time; presumably with the thought of "re-installing" them at some stage if necessary. But I quickly realised that all those snapshots would be close to useless unless I knew what was in them.

So I put a small Database together (using Access), which keeps track of software installations, version updates, etc, etc. But most importantly, it can show the difference between two snapshots, or the current state and a snapshot. This gives me the ability to automate the "rolling back" to a previous snapshot and re-installing any of the missing software.

But it made me wonder what other people do? I know on my previous computer things got pretty messy.

Just by-the-by: in doing this I discovered a great use for PAD files... It was pretty simple to load in the URL of an Application's PAD file (LaunchBar commander for example) and provide a method from the Database to query the PAD file to see if an update has been released and download it if it has! Essentially that provides an update check not provided in the programme  smiley

Perry
« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 10:06:29 PM by Perry Mowbray » Logged

Lashiec
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2007, 05:40:10 AM »

There are programs like Total Uninstall that do exactly what you're achieving with FirstDefense and *gasp* Access. I'm using that, and it's the first thing I install after the SO. jv16 PowerTools Software and Registry Manager are also there to help.
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2007, 06:56:51 AM »

So with Total Uninstall, if I install and track Programmes A, B and C, and then I want to uninstall Programme B, what happens if Programme C was sort of intertwined with B (maybe directory wise)? I guess I'm wondering how it handles changes to directory structures in between times.

... I find Access to be a really quick environment to build something quickly.
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Lashiec
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2007, 12:38:06 PM »

What happens? Well, the relation between Program B and C gets messed up due to Total Uninstall action. That's a side effect of using the program, and it's mentioned in its help file. But don't worry, most of the times this is something related to a program stealing the file extensions of another one, and this is easily fixed in the "Preferences" panel of most programs.

Not to bash Access, but I thought it was a bit massive to take care of this issue. Totally agree in the quick environment.

Well, it seems that the rest of the members use the computer as a dumping ground Grin
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2007, 06:15:46 PM »

What happens? Well, the relation between Program B and C gets messed up due to Total Uninstall action. That's a side effect of using the program, and it's mentioned in its help file. But don't worry, most of the times this is something related to a program stealing the file extensions of another one, and this is easily fixed in the "Preferences" panel of most programs.

Thanks for clearing that up... I couldn't quite make sense of it after reading the site.
Not to bash Access, but I thought it was a bit massive to take care of this issue. Totally agree in the quick environment.

Oh, you're right there about being a bit massive

Well, it seems that the rest of the members use the computer as a dumping ground Grin

 Grin Grin I guess it's easy to?
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CleverCat
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2007, 07:37:26 AM »

I use this and am about to purchase to automate it!

http://www.freedownloadsc...c__Utilities/SoftCAT.html

 Thmbsup
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Curt
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2007, 10:33:31 AM »

Welcome back, CleverCat! Sure we can all understand why you have chosen to use this soft, clever CAT ..  tongue - sorry, that really was cheap  embarassed

-
http://www.fnprg.com/softcatplus/index.html
The auto catalog function (and the image function) is for the PRO version only. Did you really start to type your program's info manually? I had a look at SoftCAT but decided that the PRO version is the only one of interest, because typing all these info manually? Not even for a single program! But I do think the Pro version seems to be a very fine program - though I have not yet been ready to pay $30, and with some 300 programs I see no realistic need for the free version.

---

Show us one of your pictures, CleverCat!!  Thmbsup
« Last Edit: July 13, 2007, 10:57:50 AM by Curt » Logged
Curt
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2007, 11:26:08 AM »

Just by-the-by: in doing this I discovered a great use for PAD files... It was pretty simple to load in the URL of an Application's PAD file (LaunchBar commander for example) and provide a method from the Database to query the PAD file to see if an update has been released and download it if it has! Essentially that provides an update check not provided in the programme  smiley

Perry


Perry, are you able to launch an auto-upgrader for all programs ???
 tellme

What would we need to have? What would you need to make it happen?
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CleverCat
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2007, 01:01:53 AM »

Welcome back, CleverCat! Sure we can all understand why you have chosen to use this soft, clever CAT ..  tongue - sorry, that really was cheap  embarassed

-
http://www.fnprg.com/softcatplus/index.html
The auto catalog function (and the image function) is for the PRO version only. Did you really start to type your program's info manually? I had a look at SoftCAT but decided that the PRO version is the only one of interest, because typing all these info manually? Not even for a single program! But I do think the Pro version seems to be a very fine program - though I have not yet been ready to pay $30, and with some 300 programs I see no realistic need for the free version.

---

Show us one of your pictures, CleverCat!!  Thmbsup

Yes I did type in manually! Will be buying Pro version soon Grin

You mean pic of desktop?
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2007, 07:52:38 PM »

Is there a program that will scan your drives (including externals) and load the info for you????
I do enough typing at work! smiley
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CleverCat
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2007, 03:18:08 AM »

Yes - see link in Curt's post above for Softcat Plus.... cheesy
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Curt
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2007, 03:24:21 AM »

Just follow the link and read about SoftCAT PLUS - but I haven't checked if it will do drives or merely a drive.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 05:19:59 AM by Curt » Logged
Darwin
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2007, 08:20:59 AM »

I'm running the trial for SoftCat Plus right now and yes, it will do drives (rather then merely a drive). It also allows you to create and access mutiple databases, which is useful if you play around with different s/w configurations and freqently create drive images.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2007, 08:48:23 AM by Darwin » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2007, 09:16:51 AM »

I've been using SoftCAT free for years.  I even enter information about programs of interest that I do not install, just to keep track of them.  I even cut-and-paste from reviews at download sites.  I really like it.

BUT...

The Zone Alarm Anti-Virus program has within the past couple of months decided that this is a dangerous program, alerting me to delete the program after every scan.  I've always refused to do so.  Somehow Zone Alarm seemed to act on its own:  the program's exe file has simply disappeared, leaving behind everything else [including the data, thankfully] in the SoftCAT folder.

Has anyone else experienced this problem?  I'm probably going to reinstall the program, perhaps even update to the PRO version, after reading this thread.

Tom
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CleverCat
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2007, 01:07:03 AM »

Anti-Virus often sees 'tracking software as 'dangerous'! if you know it's legit, tell your AV to ignore it....
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CleverCat
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2007, 01:23:05 AM »

If you want something very basic - this is okay..and free now!

http://www.loggytronic.com/ezcat.php
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Darwin
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2007, 07:54:26 AM »

Is there anyway to get SoftCat to automatically retrieve and store registration information? I'm not even sure that it's that important to me as I use ClipMate/Safe to store my serial numbers anyway, but...

This is probably a question for the developer and I'll got to him/her now!
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2007, 09:44:36 AM »

Haven't looked at Plus version too deeply - will investigate! Thmbsup
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« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2007, 02:40:35 AM »

I'm running the trial for SoftCat Plus right now and yes, it will do drives (rather then merely a drive). It also allows you to create and access multiple databases, which is useful if you play around with different s/w configurations and freqently create drive images.

Sounded great.  However looking at their forum I saw where someone had asked a few good questions. One was whether softCAT only scans the All Users and Users Start Menus for the program listing, or does it also scan the registry and elsewhere for those programs not listed in the Start Menus.  The developer replied that only those listed in the Start Menus are scanned.

A little bit of a bummer. I have found by copying and pasting program scans from BelArc Advisor, jv16 Powertools 2007, and CCleaner's Installed Programs list into Excel and comparing that there are lots of programs (on my PC, anyway) that are installed but not listed in the Start Menus. IMO, it would be a lot better if it scanned the whole PC and not just the Start Menus.

Jim
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« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2007, 08:31:32 AM »

Hmm... Jim you've raised a good point. I'm running the trial and for my needs SoftCat Pro looks good, it's picked up on apps that I've installed in non-traditional (ie the program files folder) locations but it is a bit disappointing that it won't scan the registry... Also, the forum is slow and the developer doesn't seem hugely interested in suggestions (although his curtness could be more of a language issue than anything else).

Note that the option to scan a folder exists and works. It scans sub-folders, too,. However, because it only catalogues the largest exe file in a folder you'd have to place every installation file into its own folder in order to have it auto-catalogued. Of course, what this really means is that SoftCat Pro auto-selects the largest exe file in a folder - you can click on a radio button to select and add them to your database.
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« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2007, 12:59:39 AM »

I keep all my non-install apps in one folder.
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Perry Mowbray
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« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2007, 03:49:51 AM »

Perry, are you able to launch an auto-upgrader for all programs ???
 tellme

What would we need to have? What would you need to make it happen?

Just the location of the PAD File.

The way I've done it at the moment (a bit proof of concepty), is to get details from the Author's PAD File and download the file as specified in the PAD.

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« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2007, 04:43:09 AM »

Have you tried Belarc Advisor?
This lists apps, serial nos, versions in a double column format (HTML I guess), oh, and assesses your hotfixes too and makes recommendations on security. It has an online updatable database.

Ok, it's not a database record, so comparison would be visual.

Related: Has anyone tried Secunia's Personal Inspector? This is is supposed to offer to check for updates for over 4200 apps.. a bit like CNET used to do some years ago, but with an option of online scanning or a downloadable version. I couldn't get a useful result, though.
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« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2007, 10:34:33 AM »

Yeah, I've tried Secunia Personal Inspector. It's not bad - it works, but I uninstalled it as I use Check&Get to monitor the version history pages of all of my applications. I like this better than having to download a db file and scan my system. It's more accurate, forces me to read the history notes and make a decision about whether or not I want to update/upgrade and I'm used to it, so it works for me!
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« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2007, 06:33:32 PM »

Yeah, I've tried Secunia Personal Inspector. It's not bad - it works, but I uninstalled it as I use Check&Get to monitor the version history pages of all of my applications. I like this better than having to download a db file and scan my system. It's more accurate, forces me to read the history notes and make a decision about whether or not I want to update/upgrade and I'm used to it, so it works for me!

I use Check and Get as well. Before that, I used Website Watcher, but Check & Get also serves as a url organizer. I think the program needs a lot of work, but I haven't found anything I like better. I tried writing to the developer, but he didn't seem to give a shit and I gave up after sending my third message to him. If there is a better way, I'd love to know about it. That's the problem with being on this site looking for great software: you find out about it, then you need to keep it updated. smiley

I would suggest to anyone considering buying SoftCat that they take a look at Where Is It? You can use it like a catalog program as well and it is a wonderful program. I wish all software was written with as much thought and attention to detail.

Ken
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 06:37:16 PM by KenR » Logged

Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
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