SPQuery organizes and installs service packs and hotfixes.

Track Those Hotfixes

SPQuery organizes and installs service packs and hotfixes.

If you're running servers with Windows as an operating system, particularly if those servers are connected to the Internet, you know that you can't just install Windows and walk away. These days, you have to keep up with a confusing array of service packs and hotfixes to prevent crackers from walking all over your Windows installation. But how do you keep track of which servers have had which fixes installed, and what's available that you should know about? Sure, you can keep an eye on Microsoft's web site, but if you're a busy administrator responsible for multiple servers, St. Bernard Software's SPQuery 4.0 offers a much better solution.

SPQuery is a complete manager for Windows updates for all varieties of Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, including Terminal Servers as well as regular servers. For starters, you can use it to see the exact status of all of the computers on your network: which operating system they're running, which service packs have been installed, and which hotfixes have been installed on top of those service packs. This information can be presented in a variety of reports and formats. One especially useful report lets you select hotfixes that you're especially interested in and see which servers need to have those particular hotfixes installed.

SPQuery can tell you which computers on your network are missing critical hotfixes, and then deploy those hotfixes straight to those computers. (Click image to see larger version.)

SPQuery also handles downloading and installing hotfixes. You can read the appropriate KnowledgeBase articles to determine whether you need a hotfix within the SPQuery interface, then download that hotfix and deploy it to as many computers as you like with just a few mouse clicks. You can even remotely reboot those computers if you need to do so in order to complete the installation. A nice added feature lets you use this same deployment engine to install your own software to servers around your network.

Finally, SPQuery will proactively track new hotfixes for you. Each time you launch the program, it queries a database at St. Bernard's web site, and then notifies you if new hotfixes are found that pertain to computers on your network. Click the "Update" button and SPQuery will download all the relevant information to your computer.

Anyone responsible for multiple Windows servers connected to the Internet needs to have a plan for keeping the operating system up to date. SPQuery offers a simple solution to the problem in an easy-to-master package. You can download a 15-day trial version from the St. Bernard web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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