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Program provides GUI front-end for Microsoft's SP audit tool

Admins use the command-line program HFNetChk to audit a list of SPs and hotfixes installed in Windows 2000 or Windows Sever 2003 computer. Now a new program gives admins all the commands for the app in a GUI.

A staple of any Windows Server administrator's software kit is HFNetChk, a command-line program used to audit a list of all the available service packs and hotfixes installed in a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 computer.

The fact that it is a command-line program is perhaps its best – as well as its worst – feature. Best because that keeps it simple and allows its output to be piped to any number of other programs or scripts. Worst because sometimes people don't want to be bothered with a command line, and want all the available commands for the application in a GUI.

Since Microsoft has not released a GUI of its own for HFNetChk, programmer Michael Dunn of CodeProject.com went the extra mile and did it himself. WHotFixCheck is a simple little program that includes both binaries and the C++ source code, so it can be modified freely if needed.

Of course, WHotFixCheck requires HFNetChk to run; if you don't have it handy, you can download it and unpack it into any directory you want. You'll need to provide the path to HFNetChk as one of WHotFixCheck's parameters, along with the localtion of MSSECURE.XML -- a data file that provides up-to-date information about available hotfixes. If you omit the location of MSSECURE.XML, it will be downloaded automatically (a good way to insure you have the most recent version).

The interface also lets you choose what grade of hotfixes to show (for instance, what's most urgent, or simply everything that's available); which computer to scan; how verbose the output should be; and whether or not to check the Registry for additional information about the presence of hotfixes. Once you run the scan, the results can then be saved to an HTML file, which will include links to the Knowledge Base article for each detected hotfix.

About the author: 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. He is also the author of the book Windows Server Undocumented Solutions.

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