FIX IT BEFORE IT FAILS

That's the slogan presented at http://www.bigfix.com and I couldn't think of better advice myself.

This new service offers to install software on your computer that regularly connects to their Internet servers in order to find bug fixes and security patches for you system.

While the Window's Update Web site offers a great way to keep your operating system current, BigFix takes such automation several steps beyond in terms of both details and execution.

With the ability to notify you of not just fixes for Windows, but also for other Microsoft products (such as the office suite) BigFix would be easy to recommend. However, what really launches the BigFix service into the "must have" category is it's ability to analyze your system's internal settings in order to find those that may create vulnerability from outside hackers.

While other sites and services can help you keep your system's software up to date, this is the first I've seen that checks your computer's existing configuration against previously documented technical issues.

Even more impressive is BigFix's ability to automatically download and install software patches and also to change your system's settings to close the security holes that it finds.

Trust me, it will find them! In reviewing this service over the last several weeks, it has uncovered numerous settings on my system that could expose my computer to hackers and also has found software patches for both Windows and Microsoft Office programs that I had somehow missed. This is particularly impressive because I regularly visit Microsoft's Web site and also review a number of security oriented Web sites, too.

In each case, BigFix effortlessly installed the appropriate software patches and modified my system's settings to close security loopholes.

Fortunately, the service never takes action without obtaining your approval first, and always provides a link to "more information" so that if you're not sure whether or not you want the "fix" you can quickly research the issue at hand.

While I'd venture a guess that there will eventually be a cost for this outstanding tool, it is currently offered to consumers free of charge.

While I often "recommend" certain Web sites, software, and hardware, when it comes to trying BigFix, I must insist! Odds are that you'll be both surprised by just how many "fixes" your system needs and grateful that such a wonderful service exists.

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Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale