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Underscoring a barrier to remaining secure online, the average Windows PC user has to install a software update every five days from 22 different providers, according to vulnerability tracking service Secunia.

The figure is based on the results of more than 2 million users of Secunia's PSI, or Personal Software Inspector, a free application that helps consumers keep track of out-of-date software on their machines. The hassle of having to manually install that many updates may be preventing many people from running programs that are free of known vulnerabilities, the company warned earlier this week in a whitepaper (PDF).

"In fact, it is highly unlikely that even skilled enthusiasts will patch their systems as frequently as the whitepaper's findings indicate," Secunia CEO Thomas Kristensen wrote here. "The core of this patching issue is that the software industry has, so far, failed to come up with a unified patching solution that can help home users on a large scale."

To combat the problem, Secunia is working on an update to PSI that will automatically update applications, Kristensen said. The company is a few months away from releasing the program, which will allow users to exclude certain applications they may not want updated, according to The KrebsonSecurity blog.

PSI already comes highly recommended by many security watchers, this one included. Automatic patching would only make it better. ®

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