A favorite resource of mine, the ReadWriteWeb, highlighted a tool from Mozilla that enables a quick plug-in check up. Originally written just for Mozilla Firefox users, you can now test plug-ins on Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and other browsers.
You may run the checking tool and wonder what you are looking at! Keep in mind that plug-ins tend to be helper applications that your Web browser relies on behind the scenes. For example, if you are displaying Flash or Quicktime video in your Web browser, you probably have a plug-in to enable that.
I was impressed to find all of the plug-ins that were in use on my computer. In fact, there were far more than I expected to see because it highlights some that you do not install yourself. While you might download the latest plug-in for Google’s Picasa photo site, you might not have installed your own version of Microsoft DRM (or perhaps not have realized it).
It can also help you see which of your add-ons – those small software components you add to your Web browser and that are specific to that browser, where a plug-in may actually be available to multiple Web browsers – straddle the line between add-on and plug-in. I love my Chrome IE Tab extension (add-on) but it shows up when I use the Mozilla plug-in checker. That may be because it reaches out to the operating system to pull display IE functionality within my Google Chrome browser.
This is a great tool to add to your maintenance toolkit.