Re: Trying to understand what WU does...
- From: "Robert Aldwinckle" <robald@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2006 01:50:17 -0400
"Jeremy C B Nicoll" <Jeremy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
My work background includes installing & customising mainframe OSes, so
I definitely understand the sort of thing that WU might be trying to
manage. I do understand that making something like this work in a way
that technically naive users can do it is hard - but I think MS have
failed in that. All those daft eight-digit error numbers, for example.
Loads of users must see those once and never try to do an update ever
Where might I find a detailed description of what WU and MU actually
You think Microsoft publish logic manuals like IBM did? <LOL>
I'm not even sure that Microsoft even *write* internals manuals like that
internally. Certainly they seem generally clueless about providing usable
diagnostics for end-users. (Not to be completely negative about this,
at least there are *more* diagnostics available now than the dearth of them
in say WUv4; so believe it or not things are improving. <w>)
I want to know things like:
- where fixes are put when they are downloaded automatically
- how to be sure that a downloaded fix is not corrupt
That would be: does it install and do I not have any bad symptoms
after installing it. <eg>
- if I choose to download fixes manually does it matter where I
choose to keep them; how do I then initiate install of such
- which files (eg logs, original fix definitions) can I delete
after doing an install?
- is there an overall WU or MU processing log somewhere, separate
from those that describe what was done for each individual fix?
- should I have my file backup software ignore any of these
downloaded files, or update logs? How do I prevent a restore
of some or all files (perhaps to resolve some other problem on
my machine) from restoring the previous levels of some targets
of fixes while not updating whatever control files or registry
entries there are describing the state of Windows?
- what inside an update's definition specifies what the
pre-requisite/co-requisite fixes that might be required are?
My impression is that that is all(?) done on the server.
The closest you can get to seeing it is via the MBSA
which supposedly even has a method of generating XML
to represent the update information including dependencies.
BTW it all used to be much easier with Shavlik's HFNetChk
and mssecure.xml (which was also browsable by IE.)
I'd check out the MBSA NG if learning more about this aspect
of update technology seems interesting. Note: it looks as if
you now may have to have strong scripting skills to make use
of the new implementation. Perhaps the idea is to close it off
- what ensures that a set of fixes are applied in the right order...
- what all the stuff in a KBnnnn.log file actually means? For example
I've looked at some which are full of reports of various problems,
eg "update.ver" files being corrupt, various things not being found
etc. How does one tell if these are expected "not found"s, or ones
explaining an update that can't be applied?
See what I wrote above about cluelessness? <eg>
To really get an eyeful try activating "verbose" logging for WU.
- can one really believe the WU website when it shows icons saying
that fixes have been properly installed? What does the checking
code on the website actually look for?
It seems to be checking both registry values and each module's version.
Don't know if it also does CRC checks. I think that that is SFC's
- if, as some of my KBnnnn.log files suggest, my machine has made
multiple attempts to install a fix is actually the case, is there
a way to determine why/if it finally worked?
Different pattern of log messages? Proper versions of modules?
- if there's been multiple attempts to get an install to work, can
I be sure that removing a fix will work - that the prior version
of whatever programs were updated really will be restored ok?
Probably depends on how soon after the update you want to try
the uninstall. E.g. it appears that rather than managing a tree
of dependency info. all that happens is the old saved versions
of the modules involved are restored and the old saved versions
of the registry branches are also restored. When you try to uninstall
something after installing a bunch more things you just seem to get
a lame list of those things as possibly being impacted by your uninstall
rather than a precise list of known regressions.
- if I manually select a fix in add/remove programs, and elect to
remove it, what process is there that will prevent that from
being done if there's some inter-dependency between the fix I'm
asking to remove and other fixes?
I've asked some of my untechnical friends how they cope with WU and
they either say, rarely, "I turned it on and it just works", or they
rather more often ask "what is WU?" which is disturbing. Or they have
tried it and there some weird error message so they reinstalled windows
and left WU turned off for good ever since. People like that don't
know about newsgroups or web forums... and even if they did they maybe
can't make their machine work any longer. How do MS expect them to
cope? The whole thing seems far too complicated for "normal" people
and insufficiently well documented for anyone to understand.
You said it!
BTW I suspect you may get more knowledgeable info about how
update technology really works in the update server related NG:
That one is also known as WSUS.
There is also one called SUS. I guess it may becoming obsolete now
but suspect old information retained for it on Google Groups could still
be relevant at least as background info.
To cut through the chaff I suggest you add (MSFT OR MVP)
initially to any searches you try.
- Trying to understand what WU does...
- From: Jeremy C B Nicoll
- Trying to understand what WU does...
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