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It appears that Microsoft have now centralised their update sites to allow users to update their software from one location, and in one swift move. Has to be a lot bettet than updating Windows, Office and .Net products etc from different locations.
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.
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.
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
Also they do not appear to have got it quite right.