How to fix problems Software Inspector finds

By Scott Dunn

In the Aug. 16 issue, I pointed out that the Secunia Software Inspector may find multiple versions of unpatched products on your system.

Older programs and Web sites may need the older versions of run-time software. But the old run-time code represents a security risk. For the greatest safety, uninstall the older files and then install updated software.

Removing outdated versions of risky applications

A number of readers seemed flummoxed by this situation. Chris Vetter gives us his take:

  • “Scott Dunn’s article brought attention to the outdated versions of Java, Flash Player, QuickTime, and Adobe Reader existing on many people’s computers. He failed to point out this is not necessarily because people fail to update, rather because applying the latest update does not remove the older versions. This helps explain why so many computers tested positive.

    “A step-by-step instruction is needed for the often-required manual removal of the artifacts of Registry entries and old folders.”

In many cases, outdated versions can be eliminated by using the Add or Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel. Because you may need the older version, however, make a backup before continuing, as I advised in the last issue.

When you’re ready to remove the software, open the Control Panel and double-click Add or Remove Programs. In the case of Java, an entry for each version normally appears in the Add or Remove Programs list. Select the version you don’t want, click Remove, and follow any other prompts you see on screen. Repeat for each outdated version.

Note that not all versions have the same name. For example, the name of some entries for Java begin with “Java,” some begin with “J2SE,” and so on. So scan the list carefully to find the version you want to remove.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-09-06: