BigFix, in case you haven't come across the company, provides a range of patch management options for companies, but it also provides a free-to-use service for consumers and small businesses.
The client software sits on your PC, humming away in the background, and alerts you to the fact an update or patch is available for your operating system and/or major application such as Microsoft Office.
The reason I like BigFix - apart from the fact the basic service is free of charge - is that it monitors patches for older copies of Microsoft Office.
I actually have three versions of Office on my main office PC - Office 97, Office 2000 and the latest version, Office 2005.
Whilst the last version is all singing and dancing, I keep the older editions to allow me to to load and manipulate files from other users who are also using older editions.
This helps to maintain compatibility with features such as change tracking and the like. This is a must have feature for writers like myself.
The problem with older versions of Office is that the update system is pretty crappy, meaning you have to monitor and load updates manually.
Which is where BigFix enters the frame, as it alerts you to the availability of updates and helps you download 'em.
So, next time I get stuck with BigFix, I won't have to call a US number, but a UK number for support. And yes, they do provide support, even on their free service.
Which is nice...