Microsoft's new patch raises questions about its tools

Questions are being raised about how well Microsoft's own tools for scanning and patching are working to apply its most recent patch, MS04-003, to correct security vulnerabilities associated with what's called the Microsoft Data Access Component.

Popular online forum NTBugtraq this week filled with discussion about problems many users are experiencing when applying Microsoft's MDAC patch to servers and workstations.

One vendor, ConfigureSoft Inc., has its own take on the issue. According to Randy Streu, the company's vice president of product management, the problem isn't the patch itself but three of Microsoft's scanning and patch tools: Baseline Security Analyzer, SUS and Windows Update. All three are misfiring in the MDAC patching process. MDAC is a software component broadly used in Microsoft applications to gain database access.

According to ConfigureSoft, the tools are failing to tell the user they have to upgrade their machines, for instance by adding a particular Microsoft Service Pack, in order to apply the patch.

"These tools don't detect the dependency issue. It's the complications of 15 or so combinations for MDAC -- versions like 2.5, 2.6, or 2.7 that might need a particular Service Pack," says Streu. ConfigureSoft, which makes its own tool Security Manager Update, has been testing the application of the patch with the Microsoft tools.

Without the right Service Pack level, "the patch won't take," said Streu. The three Microsoft tools "won't even let you know you need to install the patch."

HFNetChk, a free tool made by Shavlik Technologies that's posted on Microsoft's Web site, does work properly with the MDAC patch, according to ConfigureSoft.

Microsoft said it was looking into some complaints it had heard associated with MDAC but said there had been no widespread problems reported in installing MDAC. Microsoft does encourage customers in the U.S. and Canada with patching problems to call product support at 1-866-PCSAFETY. Microsoft also said it is looking further into the questions raised about its patching tools and MDAC.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?