This has been a long time coming, and I believe it's just now being slowly implemented worldwide. I saw it a lot sooner on the English side than I did on the Japanese side. I need to install a few more language versions of Windows pretty soon, so maybe I can get back with more news about this roll-out.
Microsoft ran a beta of this system back in February 2005. However, I've been reading about this new Microsoft Update system since 2003. I'm sure many of you can remember the joy of running various combinations of Microsoft patch management programs to try to keep up. We had Windows Update, Auto Update, Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS), Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS), MBSA and the IIS Lockdown Tool...to name a few. Microsoft put in a lot of work and came up with an entirely new patch management system that spans all of MS's products.
This new system was supposed to be XML based and extensible beyond the MS product family. During the technical design phase I read that they were thinking of expanding this system to their partners as well. That may be the next step in their plans.
I think that most will agree that this is a major positive step in the right direction for MS. This new system makes it a lot simpler for the average customer to keep their machine up-to-date.
Another point, When I was first sent to this new Microsoft update site, it reqires you to install an actveX control, the purpose being to determine if you are running genuine Microsoft products. It gives you 2 options, view updates, validate my windows. If you do not validate, it will not let you update. You can view updates, but can't install them.
I can appreciate that Microsoft is keen to make it as difficult as possible to install and use pirate copies of their software, but I feel they need to address this issue more towards the install stage, rather than update stage. If they block any users receiving updates then they are leaving a lot of sytems wide open to spread worms.
Also they do not appear to have got it quite right. It offered an optional update for my Nvidia graphics driver. Yea it worked ok if I was happy with 4bit. Required a system restore to correct it.
The Genuine Windows program caused a bit of a stir didn't it? ;) One thing you have to keep in mind is that this initiative is targeted toward updates, not security patches. Here's what MS has to say:
|Q. Do security updates require validation? [microsoft.com] |
A. Security updates are not part of WGA. Security updates can be installed using the Windows XP Automatic Updates feature, or downloaded from the Download Center.
|I feel they need to address this issue more towards the install stage, rather than update stage |
I think the problem they're facing is a mass installed base of pirated Windows. They did try to make things more difficult with XP and their activation codes.
|Also they do not appear to have got it quite right. |
I'm quite wary whenever I see a hardware driver update there. The only one I recall seeing was an nVidia driver as well. There must have been an issue there at some point. I did run into a similar problem in the past, so I make sure that I have a full drive image of my system before updating hardware drivers.