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Another Patch-Blocking Problem for Microsoft

Microsoft issued an advisory alerting users about a glitch that prevents security updates from being distributed through specific Windows Server Update programs.

One week to the day Microsoft announced it was working on a patch to correct problems concerning System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) -- problems that have rendered some SCCM users unable to deploy June's security patches -- the company on Monday issued another security advisory, this time alerting users about a glitch that prevents security updates from being distributed through specific Windows Server Update programs.

The particular programs in question are implementations of Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 3.0 or WSUS 3.0 SP1 that hook up to client server systems with Office 2003 installed in their processing environment.

"Microsoft is investigating this issue based on reports from customers who are experiencing this issue," wrote Bill Sisk, security response communications manager for Microsoft, in an e-mail to Redmondmag.com on Monday afternoon. "Upon completion of the investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to resolve the problem within Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 or Microsoft Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 1."

Because this is the second such off-cycle advisory release in less than a week, Redmond emphasized that this latest advisory is "a separate issue than the issue affecting System Center Configuration Manager 2007 first described in Microsoft Security Advisory 954474," in which systems running SCCM 2007 were blocked from deploying June's security updates.

The two advisories demonstrate the importance of change management for system administrators. The irony is that both SCCM and WSUS are designed to be locally managed using the Microsoft-updated Web site so that IT pros can easily harness the distribution of patches, hotfixes, workarounds and non-security updates in their enterprise environments.

As a workaround, Redmond suggests resetting approval listings and settings or changing filters in the updated node -- a linked list function in Windows -- to view and download the new updates. These actions would require a restart.

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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