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Distributing patches in mixed environments

In SMS 2.0 (SP4), let's say you have a mixed environment of OS desktops (XP, 2000, NT4.0). When you deploy a security patch and advertise to the All Workstations group, will it know where to send to patch to per desktop OS? Also, how can you tell if the patch was installed successfully? Would you have to use the Crystal Report? If so, any pointers on how to create it?

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It will depend on the patch. When you read the security bulletin associated with the patch, it will list the OSes that the patch is intended for. In some cases, you may have to create Collections based on the specific operating system and distribute the patch according to each operating system.

It really sounds like you are trying to work out your patch distributions manually, and you may be making patch distribution harder than it should be. You should be using the Software Update Services Feature Pack for SMS 2.0. This will help you in distributing your patches and also give you several Web reports for tracking patch distribution and success rates.

Grab this Feature Pack and also grab and read the myITforum Guide to the SMS 2.0 Software Update Services Feature Pack.

This was first published in July 2004

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