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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ellen Messmer

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?