AutoUP is a compact and portable update checker which will alert you to updates for many common programs, and (if you like) download them all with a click.
The program "only" supports 68 applications so far, but there are plenty of major names in the list: Flash, Adobe Reader, Firefox, Chrome, Java, Paint.NET, RealPlayer, Thunderbird and more (the full list is here). Launch AutoUP and any of these you've installed will be displayed in a list. Check a program you're interested in (or right-click and select Check All to choose the lot), click Scan, and AutoUP will quickly browse the list and alert you to any full or beta version updates which might be available.
We tried this on a test PC and found 4 full updates, and 5 betas. After selecting all of these, too, we asked the program to grab the updates, and it quickly downloaded them all into a folder of our choosing. It didn't offer to launch each update for us, but that's probably wise, and proved easy enough to do manually, anyway.
AutoUP isn't just about updates, though. If you're setting up a new PC, for instance, the program makes it just as easy to download the latest version of all its supported programs, no need to fire up a browser at all.
And it's reasonably configurable, too. If you don't want to manually have to tell AutoUP to grab the latest versions, for instance, just click Settings and check the "Automatically download" box.
There are still a few interface oddities. When downloading manually, for instance, you first click the Download button to open the appropriate dialog, then have to hit Download again. Why?
And when the download is complete you don't get a "Close" option; you have to manually close the window yourself.
It doesn't take long to understand these quirks, though, and on balance AutoUP is a straightforward and useful software update tool.