A system and method update client computers of various end users with software updates for software products installed on the client computers, the software products manufactured by diverse, unrelated software vendors. The system includes a service provider computer system, a number of client computers and software vendor computer systems communicating on a common network. The service provider computer system stores in an update database information about the software updates of the diverse software vendors, identifying the software products for which software updates are available, their location on the network at the various software vendor computer systems, information for identifying in the client computers the software products stored thereon, and information for determining for such products, which have software updates available. Users of the client computers connect to the service provider computer and obtain a current version of portions of the database. The client computer determines that software products stored thereon, and using this information, determines from the database, which products have updates available, based on product name and release information for the installed products. The user selects updates for installation. The selected updates are downloaded from the software vendor computer systems and installed on the client computer. Payment for the software update and the service is mediated by the service provider computer. Authentication of the user ensures only registered users obtain software updates. Authentication of the software updates ensures that the software updates are virus free and uncorrupted. Changes to the client computer during installation are monitored and archived, allowing the updates to be subsequently removed by the user.