When updates such as hotfixes or service packs are installed in Windows, the usual way to find out which ones have been installed is through the Add/Remove Programs applet in Control Panel. As of more recent versions of Windows (XP Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2003), the updates are hidden by default and can only be shown by checking a box marked "Show updates." Even with this enabled, the amount of information available about each installed update is minimal: The user only sees the KB number that describes the hotfix.
More information about each fix: Each installed fix not only has a name and a relevant KB number, but also who installed it and when, which version of the update it is, what type of update, the link to a relevant Knowledge Base article and the uninstall command for the fix. In addition, when a particular fix is highlighted, the program displays all the files that were installed or changed by the hotfix, including the file versions / dates / descriptions, the full path to the file and a checksum.
Exportable reports: The program can write out a report to plaintext, CSV, HTML, or XML file formats. The HTML report format even includes hotlinks to the relevant Knowledge Base articles.
Searchable results: The results can be searched either in the program itself or through a third-party program when the results are exported to a file.
Note: If you choose to remove an update, the program will only run the listed uninstaller for that hotfix. It does not uninstall updates manually or perform file rollbacks on its own.
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators -- and please share your thoughts as well!
More information from SearchWinSystems.com
- Tip: Manage third-party filter drivers for post-SP2 updates
- Topic: Research Service Pack and Patch Management in this topic section
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This was first published in October 2005