Folks want free support. There’s nothing wrong with wanting free. I want free. Everyone wants free!

But for QuickBooks, I think there are some particular reasons people want and often expect free support:

1. For most users, QuickBooks is pretty inexpensive software, and people want inexpensive (free!) support to go with it.

2. Free is quite attractive to small businesses or nonprofits who are struggling to keep their heads above water in a tough economy.

3. There’s often a do-it-yourself ethos with QuickBooks. I’m going to save money by doing it myself — it’s easy, right?! If you can write a check, you can do your own books with QuickBooks! And when you (almost) do it yourself, it’s supposed to be free.

To be sure, we have a free QuickBooks Forum where tens of thousands of questions and problems have been asked and answered. It’s free, no strings attached.

And Twitter is a place for limited free support. Limited, because it’s difficult to ask and answer questions in just 140 characters.

The Intuit Community is a free support resource.

Otherwise, support doesn’t come free. And there’s a good reason for that…the people providing the support have to make a living at what they do. Our forums are amazing because there are a lot of members who volunteer their time to help other people out. I am so impressed with the altruism of our members.

But if you want to talk to someone now to resolve your QuickBooks problem, whether it’s at QuickbooksUsers.com or elsewhere, well, that someone has to make a living. Don’t we all!

How do you feel about paying (or being paid) for software support?

What version of QuickBooks am I using?

What edition of QuickBooks am I using?

What update patch do I have installed?

How big is my data file?

How fragmented is it? (And thus, how potentially unstable is it?)

Where is my data file located?

Where is my license number information?

All these questions and more are easily found simply by pressing the F2 key when you are in QuickBooks with your company opened.

If you find yourself needing support, through QuickbooksUsers.com or otherwise, this will probably be information you are going to need.

The update patch is shown right after your version. In this screen shot, it shows R5P.

If your file size is large (250MB or more for Pro or Premier versions, 750MB or more for Enterprise) and your DB file fragments are high (20 or more), then your file is potentially more likely to get corrupted. You can get those numbers down with supercondensing or a company recreate.

One other nice number from the F2 screen: free memory. QuickBooks likes to have lots of elbow room.