Microsoft posts beta of new installer software

Microsoft Corp. Friday shipped the first beta of a software installer that is one key piece in a forthcoming overhaul of the company’s patch management architecture.

Microsoft Installer (MSI) 3.0, now available to users in the beta program, will become one of two installer technologies that will replace the jumble of eight installers Microsoft has today for installing patches.

MSI 3.0 will be used for most applications, while Update.exe will be the installer for the operating system.

In June, Microsoft admitted that its patch management architecture was broken and vowed to fix it, reducing the number of installer technologies and creating one comprehensive site where users could find patches for all Microsoft products.

A mish-mash of patch resources has fueled complaints for years that Microsoft’s patch management system is tainted by inconsistencies in how to find, deploy and verify a patch was installed.

Scott Culp, senior security strategist for the Trustworthy Computing team at Microsoft, said MSI 3.0 will be compatible with Windows Server 2003, Windows XP and Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 and higher. Once users add MSI 3.0 to those platforms, Culp says they will be able to take advantage of changes Microsoft is making to its patch management infrastructure.

MSI 3.0, which includes improvements in authoring, creating, distributing and managing updates to applications, is expected to ship by mid-2004. It is designed to reduce the number of reboots needed when installing patches and other software, eliminate the calamity of file versions overwriting one another and improve the rollback of installations. MSI 3.0 also will allow the installation or removal of more than one patch at a time, but allows patches installed as part of a batch process to be uninstalled individually.

By the end of 2004, Microsoft expects to converge all products onto MSI 3.0 and Update.exe.

The installer technologies will be baked into Microsoft products starting with the Longhorn wave of software, according to Microsoft. The wave is expected to begin with a new desktop OS in 2005 or 2006.

Today, Windows Update only supplies patches for Windows, and users must go to other sites to find patches for other products. To add to the confusion, other products - such as SQL Server, Exchange and Office - all have their own unique technologies for installing patches.

Microsoft hopes that cutting the number of installers is one step in reducing the burden of patch management.

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.

John Fontana

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

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.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?