When working with third-party utilities, such as the GetUserInfo tool I discuss in the main article, I sometimes encounter problems with the utility or think of additional features I'd like the utility to have. You might be surprised to learn that even freeware-utility authors are usually interested in user feedback. I've occasionally ended up as a beta tester for some new feature that the author includes at my request. Most authors realize that if one person has a particular concern, other users probably have it, too.

In rare cases, I've run into authors who aren't responsive or no longer support the utility because of various circumstances. When you contact a tool's author, be sure to express your appreciation for the utility and explain how it has benefited you. If the product is shareware or donationware, send the author the shareware fee or a donation. You'll be more likely to receive a positive response if you're a paid user.

Authors often keep a list of bugs and features to address in their next software version. They need your input so that future versions will reflect the improvements you and others need.