Shavlik builds on Microsoft's discontinued scan tools

Shavlik Technologies on Wednesday released a trio of tools to fill the gaps that will be left when Microsoft drops support later this year for its older security scanning tools.

The security vendor is offering free or limited use versions of three tools that will let users scan for missing patches or service packs on older Microsoft operating system and server software. The tools also will work on newer Microsoft software and non-Microsoft software.

In March, Microsoft caused an uproar when it said it would discontinue support for version 1.2.1 of its popular Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) tool. MBSA is a four-year-old scanning tool with an engine originally developed by Shavlik and offered free from Microsoft.

Microsoft last year upgraded MBSA to version 2.0, replacing the Shavlik scanning engine with one it developed in order to unify the company's front-end and back-end patch tools.

MBSA 2.0 is compatible only with Windows Update Agent, Windows Server Update Services, Microsoft Update and the SMS Inventory Tool for Microsoft Update.

Version 1.2.1 is only compatible with Software Update Services and does not require each scanned machine to have an agent installed. It can scans for missing patches and service packs on older Microsoft software, including Office 2000, SQL Server 2000 SP4 and earlier, Exchange 5.0 and 5.5, and BizTalk Server 2000/2002.2004.

Shavlik officials say users will continue to get the same scanning technology they have become familiar with over the past four years.

"They get the best of both worlds," says Mark Shavlik, president of Shavlik Technologies, " You get [support] for all the Microsoft products, you don't have to have an agent, it's the same output users are use to, it is the same scanning engine they are use to."

Shavlik says the HFNetChk engine has been updated to improve performance and to support agent-less remote scans of Office applications.

With Microsoft dropping the MBSA version that includes the Shavlik scanning tool, Shavlik is now offering one version of its software for free and two others for free with limited use rights or for purchase.

The Shavlik NetChk Analyzer for Microsoft is a free agent-less command line scanning tool that supports the same products supported by MBSA 1.2.1, as well as, all new Microsoft products. The tool can scan an unlimited number of hosts.

The Shavlik NetChk Analyzer is a full-featured command line patch management tool that provides an upgrade from MBSA 1.2.1. The agent-less tool scans Microsoft and non-Microsoft software, including Adobe Reader, Firefox and Real Player, for missing patches and service packs. It also has a reporting engine. The software is free for up to 25 machines or US$4 annual subscription per seat.

Shavlik also is offering free a 10-user copy of its Shavlik NetChk Protect, which integrates patch management and spyware protection. The software has a graphical user interface, full remediation, network management support, reporting and security analysis tools. A full version that can scan thousands of computers is also available and priced starting at US$28 per seat.

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