Home > Windows > Microsoft’s Steve Anderson on Upgrading Windows Update Microsoft’s Steve Anderson on Upgrading Windows Update Eugenia Loli 2004-04-07 Windows 21 Comments “Windows Update Services is an example of how Microsoft is making good on its promise to continue to improve security and increase automation around the patching and updating experience,” Microsoft’s Steve Anderson told TechNewsWorld. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 21 Comments 2004-04-07 8:28 pm I believe MS is constantly improving on security front. with 2k and XP great strides have been done to improve on the issue and hopefully this is another step of improvement… 2004-04-07 9:07 pm What Microsoft really needs to do is clean up Internet Explorer. Less savy users rely on it for browsing and it allows installation of spy ware, this alone makes me hate it for just about anything. If MS really cares about their customers, about security, they would fix the one of the largest security holes in their operating system, Internet explorer. 2004-04-07 9:24 pm Most of the spyware problems will be taken care of in SP2. ActiveX has been locked down very tight in the default install. I think it is about time for this. You have to exlicity give permission to install any activeX plug-in, and many will not install if they are not digitally signed. Also, I have found that many trojans from warez sites and porn sites will also not install. You can increase protection with installing SpywareBlaster, SpywareGaurd, Spybot Search & Destroy, and Ad-aware 6.181 2004-04-07 10:01 pm SP2?? That’s soley for Windows XP…that doesn’t help the miriad of users who are using win98, win2k and others. I’m sorry, but IE needs to be fixed and supplied as an SP for internet explorer. Those applications do not prevent installation, those find them. Recently I saw a computer infected with something from some website offering stupid smileys for AIM. This put a toolbar in IE. No amount of adaware using would clean that up. Hence it was useless. Like I said, they would rather fix XP than their bigger problems (IE and Outlook Express) 2004-04-07 10:09 pm Like I said, they would rather fix XP than their bigger problems (IE and Outlook Express) From what I’ve seen, a lot of what they are doing to fix XP also fix both IE and OE. Are there still problems? Sure thing. But they are being adressed, even if it’s slower than they ultimately should be. 2004-04-07 10:37 pm My concern is that they are fixing the OS, which over 50% of their userbase are not using. XP doesn’t have 100% of the windows user installbase, but IE does. Fix IE, then fix XP… 2004-04-07 10:44 pm “SP2?? That’s soley for Windows XP…that doesn’t help the miriad of users who are using win98, win2k and others. I’m sorry, but IE needs to be fixed and supplied as an SP for internet explorer. ” Yes it does help them, they fix for versions pre winXP is to upgrade to winXP. WinXP is their current product, thus thats where they should be working. 2k is ok, but it’s still an old version and is at the level of just getting small updates when needed. MS has no reason to be doing big overhauls on it. Anything before that you really need to upgrade. You can come up with all the reason why people can’t or won’t upgrade, but that doesn’t change the matter that their is a solution and it’s simple, Upgrade. People really need to stop saying MS needs to do all this stuff to old OSs, products move forward. Nothing about computers states you should be able to use an OS forever because it will be upgraded, the fix to it’s flaws is a new OS. When you buy your computer, its tech is frozen at that point. Everything past that time that comes out to help it out is a bonus. 2004-04-07 10:51 pm true anough, but there is the one shot fix to just get people to winXP, and I think MS has been trying to make that happen, but it takes time. Think about how slowly people are going OS9 to OSX on macs, and thats just a flat out no brainer to go from a horrible OS to a wonderful OS. MS doesn’t have such a leap, but the reality is they need to get people upgraded. XP should be fixed first. What you want to do would be like coming up for the cure for AIDS before coming up with imunity for it. Sure helps those with AIDS, but the reality is its much more important to stop AIDS from spreading first, then go back and fix the damage. This may sound harsh but it’s true. If they get everyone on winXP with the flaws fixed, then they will take care of the big problem, then they can try to do something for the others who are still dealing with it. 2004-04-07 11:06 pm I see where you are coming from. But there are people who just flat out won’t upgrade to XP, for any amount of reasons (cost, laziness, no real incentive, don’t like the activation scheme)… Plus my company won’t let me use Windows XP, it’s only windows 2000. How is that going to help me if Microsoft tells me to upgrade to Windows XP? MS is doing more of a disservice to themselves and their customers by only dealing with the problem on their newest OS, when they support at least 2 others (win98 and win2k are still supported) 2004-04-07 11:11 pm Nothing about computers states you should be able to use an OS forever because it will be upgraded, the fix to it’s flaws is a new OS. Actually if Microsoft says they will continually support the OS until a certain point, they by contract have to continually release updates as they are needed. Coporations that have standardized on Microsoft products would not look fondly if they have to purchase a license for a new OS on a computer they just purchased (Dell still sells windows 2000 loaded laptops and workstations). 2004-04-08 12:25 am “I see where you are coming from. But there are people who just flat out won’t upgrade to XP, for any amount of reasons (cost, laziness, no real incentive, don’t like the activation scheme)… ” But there IS an incentive. to get IE fixed. Brad is 100% here in saying that the fix for 98 is Windows XP. All my clients who have listened to me and gone up to XP are much happier (and more productive… less BSOD and whatnot) and im receiving less calls for support from them. Take it up with your company if you cant upgrade to xp. If i get a company car in 1998 and the manufacturer releases there wizzbang 2004 model with a gazillion airbags, seatbelts, makes me coffee on the way to work and cleans my teeth who am i to tell the car manufacturer to retrofit my car with all these cool features (for FREE!)? Doesnt anyone realise how BAD windows 98 is? Get with the times, girlfriend Gareth 2004-04-08 12:27 am Internet Explorer needs to be fixed and companies forcing users to use Internet Explorer need to be fixed. Why do banks, online schools, and other places require their customers/students to use such a bad program? I wish businesses and schools would actually care about how they do business. 2004-04-08 3:16 am Yes it does help them, they fix for versions pre winXP is to upgrade to winXP. WinXP is their current product, thus thats where they should be working. 2k is ok, but it’s still an old version and is at the level of just getting small updates when needed. MS has no reason to be doing big overhauls on it. Wrong. There are still plenty of companies that haven’t seen the need to upgrade their workstations from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. Not offering these features in future Windows 2000 service packs is disservice to a good portion of there customers. 2004-04-08 4:25 am “Wrong. There are still plenty of companies that haven’t seen the need to upgrade their workstations from Windows 2000 to Windows XP. Not offering these features in future Windows 2000 service packs is disservice to a good portion of there customers.” I think the poster with the car example nail this one. So these people haven’t seen the need? yet they see a need to have these features? That would be the need to upgrade. MS has a duty to offer patches and bug fixes for a while. But not for any form of major change. If they did as you wanted they wouldn’t be able to sell people new versions of windows. Since people’s win98 would have been patch to the level that it was winXP. MS does offer this in a way, it’s an upgrade version. You can’t say there is no need to upgrade when you are saying the newer versions of an OS have things you want. Thats why you upgrade! 2004-04-08 5:11 am The car example? How about another car analogy: GM is still releasing part recall notices on cars as old as at least a 1998 model. The logic isn’t ‘Let’s use this as a revenue opportunity to get people to buy new car’, it’s ‘Let’s get the issue fixed so there’s no damage done’. You can’t say there is no need to upgrade when you are saying the newer versions of an OS have things you want. Thats why you upgrade! Also, read what I said again. I said that there are COMPANIES that do NOT see a need to upgrade to a new Operating System when the one they have works quite well, and where their users and support staff are trained in it’s use. It’s still available for sale by their major OEM’s, so AFAIC, as long as I can buy it through retail channels, then MS has an obligation to support it as fully as any other OS they still sell. 2004-04-08 5:45 am SUS solved the patching problem several years back for the core operating system. WUS is a good improvement that adds patching for many other MS products. Any company or user who chooses not to install patches or a firewall has no right to complain about worms. You take a very small risk with an MS patch or a fairly large risk with an army of script kiddies and crackers who want to break into Windows systems. If you decide to take your chances with malicious crackers instead of professional MS support you’ve no right to complain about Blaster et al. The GM analogy is also unfair. Thousands of bored teenagers are out there trying to break into both cars and computers. Whilst MS provides free patches to secure their OSes, I know of no company that will replace or improve your car security system before or after the car’s broken into. 2004-04-08 9:56 am Those applications do not prevent installation, those find them. If you are reffering to the capabilities of Ad-Aware 6.181, and Spybot S&D, you would be 100% correct in making that statment. However, if you are reffering to all of the products, you are mis-informed. Here is a description of SpywareGaurd 2.2 directly from the JavaCool site: SpywareGuard provides a real-time protection solution against spyware that is a great addition to SpywareBlaster’s protection method. An anti-virus program scans files before you open them and prevents execution if a virus is detected – SpywareGuard does the same thing, but for spyware! And you can easily have an anti-virus program running alongside SpywareGuard. SpywareGuard now also features Download Protection and Browser Hijacking Protection! Features Listing: Fast Real-Time Scanning engine – catch and block spyware before it is executed (EXE and CAB files supported) with signature-based scanning for known spyware and heuristic/generic detection capabilities to catch new/mutated spyware. Download Protection – prevent spyware from being download in Internet Explorer. Browser Hijacking Protection – stop browser hijacking activity in real-time. SG LiveUpdate – provides an easy updating solution Small size – with a small size and small definition sizes, download and updates are quick. Report Capabilities – keep a detailed log of all spyware detected. Always On Protection –Spyware files are blocked before being opened or run – they are not simply shut down after they are loaded in memory (and after they have performed their tasks) . It’s a free download. With my experiences with this product, it does exactly what it states. It is like the Heurestic scanner in AVG, or your anti-virus product. If a possible spyware/adware program attempts to install into your system, it will block installation, alert the user to the threat, and ask how to proceed. The “alert” box is very similar in function to many AV engines when asking what to do with an identified virus. The only bad part about this program is that by default, it is in “ask” mode. However, by changing the default settings, it is easy to enable this program to silenty block all known and suspected ad-ware. This is a very useful program, and compatible with all Win32 versions from 95 on up. Here is a quote from their site about SpywareBlaster 3.1: Spyware, adware, browser hijackers, and dialers are some of the fastest-growing threats on the Internet today. By simply browsing to a web page, you could find your computer to be the brand-new host of one of these unwanted fiends! The most important step you can take is to secure your system. And SpywareBlaster is the most powerful protection program available. Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted pests. Block spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox. Restrict the actions of potentially dangerous sites in Internet Explorer. SpywareBlaster can help keep your system spyware-free and secure, without interfering with the “good side” of the web. And unlike other programs, SpywareBlaster does not have to remain running in the background. SpywareBlaster is freeware for personal and educational use. From my experiences with this program, it does exactly what it states. It prevents all known adware/spyware/malware from being installed on your computer in the first place, and if present, prevents them from loading. This is like the virus prevention feature in your Anti-virus scanner, only for mal-ware. Using these two programs in conjuction with each other has resulted in my system not getting 1 “data harvesting” cookie, trojan, “utility” bar in IE, adware, etc. It is the best solution I have found so far. Using these two programs, I am protected against over 2,817 known items. Updates are also like anti-virus programs. New signatures are released every so often. Even though I have had no infections within the last 6 months of any type of adware/malware/spyware, I still routenly perform scans with both Spybot S&D, as well as Ad-Aware 6.181. No alerts have been made since these programs have been installed on my system. I higly advise installing these programs. They are available at http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/products.html 2004-04-08 3:12 pm You can’t say there is no need to upgrade when you are saying the newer versions of an OS have things you want. Thats why you upgrade! I don’t want all the whizzbang features of Windows XP…i want the security patches that they are releasing for an OS that came on a computer I bought 2 months ago. An OS that they still support. An OS that we have corporate licenses for. There’s so much more to Microsoft updates than whizzbang features. In fact the whizzbang features of winXP are reasons my company will not go forward with the upgrade. 2004-04-08 5:58 pm apt-get, yum and other linux update tools are a better approach than Windows update. Some advantages: a) Don’t need a browser to run b) They are light programs and you can run remotely using ssh c) You can put the upgraded packages in locala repositories accessed by simple protocols like http or ftp. If you have a link to internet with small bandwidth this is much better and smarter. MS, try again… 2004-04-08 6:22 pm “GM is still releasing part recall notices on cars as old as at least a 1998 model. The logic isn’t ‘Let’s use this as a revenue opportunity to get people to buy new car’, it’s ‘Let’s get the issue fixed so there’s no damage done’. ” you just added to the previous example and backed it up more. MS does release bug fixes and SPs for older version. Same as GM will release such fixes. But GM doesn’t go back and offer new features for those cars. There is no reason MS should have to realease new features for old versions of windows. Also GM will only make such fixes to cars to a certain point. You don’t see them offering airbag and ABS upgrades for 57 chevy Belairs. I’m not trying to start a fight here, or get a flame war going. I’m just pointing out the reason you upgrade is to get the new features. Thats how any company sells a product. MS does offer upgrade versions of there OS to. It defys common sense to say there is no reason to upgrade to something when at the same time your saying it has a feature you want. Or has been improved over what you have. If what you have works, then fine, but don’t expect the improvements to come to it. If there is say a issue in win2k that causes problems for you and your users, and it cost them time then it’s probably worth upgrading. If say worst case it cost you 200 bucks a seat to upgrade to winXP pro, and it last you 2 years say (till longhorn maybe, or any next release). Thats 100 bucks a year, 2 bucks a week. If you have employees that are paid any decent amount, 2 bucks is equal to all of a few minutes of work. If there is a problem in windows that you think cost your employee more then a few minutes a week then its worth the upgrade. Sure, you’d love not to spend that much money but in the end it is nothing. This is why software cost what it does. In the big picture if its something you make a living with, software becomes very cheap compair to most anything else. Software is cheap. This is why companies will pay several hundred bucks a seat for a peice of software if it saves a worker a few minutes a week, it pays for it’self. This is the problem OSS faces. Sure it’s free, and if it was in every way equal to a commercial peice great. Soon as it is not as easy to use, even the littlest bit, things snowball on it. The most sucessful apps are ones like mozilla firefox. It runs on windows, its as easy if not easier to use then IE and its also free. So great, but even then it’s a hard to get people to use it. Also there isn’t a company trying to make money with it. Look how well AOL tried to use it. If you are running a company and are trying to save money, you have to think real hard if going say OSS with things will save you, cause purchase cost has little to do with the cost. If you think it’s not worth moving to winXP you really have to sit down and work out if staying with what you have is saving you money. Employee surveys of habits and grips, timing them with stop watches doing stuff, do this and see if things will change. Employee time is the biggest cost for a company, second only to production/material cost if said company involves making a product. If I was starting a company now, I would probably consider things like Macs, sure they are expensive as a home computer. But if the mac makes the users work better and everyones life simpler, then they are worth it. If winXP or longhorn in the future work of better in this way, then it would be the way to go. But trying to get an employee to use something else is almost certainly bound to not work as well. Saving Pennys isn’t worth it if it cost you Nickels. 2004-04-08 8:03 pm The costs of upgrading an operating system company wide are much more than just the licencing fee for the product. $200.00 per licence is nothing compared to the cost of planning, deployment, new hardware, training of end users, and training of your support staff to deal with a new operating system. That said, why would companies upgrade? As you’ve stated, to get the new features and components available in the OS. Was switching from Windows NT to Windows 2000 worth the investment in the above mentioned items? Absolutely. The changes between NT and 2000 were more than significant enough to warrant a change. Are the differences between 2000 and XP enough to warrant a change? No. In fact, in benchmarks that are available online, 2000 consistently outperforms XP while doing common office tasks. You said it yourself, software is cheap, time isn’t.