If you have not enabled the Automatic Windows Update feature, then you are taking a big risk of exposing your system to many vulnerabilities that have already been patched by Microsoft. But if you insist on installing the Windows updates manually, then a simple freeware tool called Protector Plus Windows Vulnerability Scanner can help you out. It can scan your system for patches (or hotfixes) that you have not installed and give you a list of vulnerabilities your system is open to.
Protector Plus Windows Vulnerability Scanner is a freeware tool from a security company based in India. It supports Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista and 7. It comes as a portable application which you can download from the Protector Plus website. The download size of the file is under 1 megabytes to it is not going to take very much time even on dial up connections. After the download is over, you can run it by double-clicking on the downloaded file Winvulscan.exe. When asked if you want to scan your system for vulnerabilites, click Yes to start.
After the scanning of your system is over (which takes only a few seconds), it would notify you of how many vulnerabilities of different types have been detected. It will also indicate about an HTML report being saved on your desktop. You can dismiss the informational message box to go back to the main window where you can see a list of all the vulnerabilities. The list contains the Microsoft security bulletin code for each vulnerability, the level of risk associated with it (critical, important etc.) and a brief description about it.
You can click on a security bulletin code (the first column in the list) to open the download page for the respective patch on the Microsoft website. This way you can manually download and install the released patches for your Windows operating system to keep it secure. The links are also given in the HTML report that is generated and saved on your desktop. You can open the report to see the same information – Microsoft security bulletin code, risk level, vulnerability description and the download link for the patches.
Protector Plus Windows Vulnerability Scanner is similar to the Belarc Advisor or Secunia PSI tools that we have covered on TrishTech.com earlier, but it is much simpler and does not cover extensive information like the previously mentioned tools. For example, Secunia PSI can give report about third party applications (in addition to Windows) and update them automatically.
It is highly advisable that you keep Automatic Update feature in Windows turned on for automatic and timely updates. But if for some reason you do not like to be bothered by it, then you can try the Protector Plus Windows Vulnerability Scanner and manually update your system. This freeware tool is updated every month to contain the latest vulnerabilities information for Windows, so you should download a new version everytime you want to scan your system.
You can download Protector Plus Windows Vulnerability Scanner from http://www.pspl.com/download/winvulscan.htm.