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The Mole #5: Technical Answers from Inside Microsoft - Y2K Product Analyzer, SQL and SBS, Y2K Updates, Virus Detection

March 16, 1999

Editors Note The questions and answers below are from the Inside Microsoft column that appears regularly on the TechNet Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/technet). To find out how to submit questions of your own, see the end of this article or go to http://www.microsoft.com/technet/community/columns/insider/default.mspx.

The TechNet Mole provides expert answers from deep within Microsoft to questions from IT professionals. The fifth installment focuses on these issues:

  • Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer

  • SQL Server 6.5 Service Pack 5 and SBS 4.0

  • Y2K Updates on Non-Internet Win98 Machines

  • Cluster Server Virus Detection

On This Page

Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer
SQL Server 6.5 Service Pack 5 and SBS 4.0
Y2K Updates on Non-Internet Win98 Machines
Cluster Server Virus Detection
Credits

Microsoft Y2K Product Analyzer

Greetings, Mole:

I've been tasked to track our IT equipment (hardware, software, and so on) for year 2000 compliance. A tool that we use to look at software on a PC builds files quickly; unfortunately, the detailed salient information about the software includes "Application" "Publisher" and "version or possibly release" does not appear to be exactly as you have it published at the web site. Some assumptions about what the software does and if it is one of those items listed makes for manual guesswork.

This same salient information about files appears to be available through a Microsoft help utility, that makes me believe that there is a "Standard Syntax" to describe a software item.

Does Microsoft or for that matter, any government testing lab have a free downloadable database that is detail-descriptive of these "Standard Software" identifiers so that we can track our software Y2K status using an automated program? This sort of tool may allow us to identify quickly what's on the computer, apply/delete program and patches and other things when necessary.

Ed Cohen, Systems Engineer and Acting Directorate 80 Y2K Coordinator, CDNSWC/AD

Hey!

Gee, Ed, I'm glad you asked that. The Microsoft Year 2000 Product Analyzer is on the TechNet CDs or can be downloaded from the Web. The Analyzer automates the processes you describe above. Think of it as the Y2K equivalent of Plug & Play.

The Analyzer include three separate utilities: a 16-bit version for use with 16-bit Operating Systems; a 32-bit Console; and a 32-bit GUI version for use with 32-bit Operating Systems. Microsoft products covered include Win 3.1, Windows for Workgroups, Win9x, x86 NT3.51, x86NT4, and x86NT5. Look for the 32-bit versions to be available first. Here's what you can expect from the tool:

  • It will perform minimum hardware detection: BIOS version + Date + CPU

  • It will scan your system to identify 100% of US Windows, down to the level of SPs, multiple boot, x86 only

  • It will scan your system to identify 100% of US Office applications

  • It will report on Y2K compliance for Windows/Office product families

  • It will let you know what level of compliance is reachable, and point to a page where you can download appropriate patches and upgrades

  • It will offer 100% Windows + Office detection and compliance

Is there bad news? Sort of. The Microsoft Year 2000 Product Analyzer v1 will not scan for every Microsoft application, much less 3rd party apps, and no Alpha, MIPS, or PC9800 work is yet in the works. Nor does v1 detect for International Windows or International Office Applications. Analyzer versions released later in 1999 may extend the database and the scope of the utility.

SQL Server 6.5 Service Pack 5 and SBS 4.0

Dear Mole,

I am employed by a MCSP, and we have clients who have installed SBS 4.0. I have been trying to find everything possible to get it Y2K compliant, since version 4.5 will not be out this year. The only problem I am having is with SQL Server... under normal circumstances, SQL Service Pack 5 will make SQL Server Y2K compliant, but on the Y2k website, it tells you not to apply Service Pack 4 to SBS. Can I apply Service Pack 5,and if not, what do I tell my clients?

Scott Avon

Hey, Scott

Yes, yes, yes, you can apply Microsoft SQL Server 6.5 Service Pack 5 to the Microsoft Small Business Server to make it fully Y2K compliant. While versions of SQL Server 6.5 SP2, SP3, and SP4 are compliant with minor issues, SP5 should provide complete adherence to our Y2K standards. This being the case, you can tell your clients a dumb joke (A man walked into a bar. Ouch!) Or simply urge them to have a nice day.

Small Business Server Home Page

SQL Server Home Page

Microsoft Year 2000 Readiness Center Home Page

Y2K Updates on Non-Internet Win98 Machines

Dear Mole,

I have some problems with the Windows 98 Update system and your recent response to this issue is less than satisfying. Where can I direct these concerns? Specific concerns include:

  • Not all of the Windows 98 updates are internet-specific fixes. For example, how do I install the Y2K update on machines that aren't connected to the internet?

  • My company wants to certify our product's compatibility with Windows 98. In the past, we've been able to make certification statements such as: our product requires Windows 95 A or B; our product requires Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Service Pack 3. While we can say that our customers must have "The Y2K update" or "The Java Virtual Machine update", we don't really know from one day to the next what will be installed if someone gets "the Y2K update" because, as you pointed out in your article, the files behind that link on the web page can change overnight. In fact, we won't even know if they've changed because Microsoft isn't providing us with an inventory of files and version numbers for these updates. This will make it very difficult for us to diagnose customer-reported problems.

Dan Smith, Senior Programmer, Indus International

Dear Dan,

Okay, perhaps Mole was a little cavalier in his previous reply about Windows 98 updates for machines not connected to the Internet. If you need to update a computer without Internet connectivity, you can order the free Windows 98 Year 2000 Update on CD-ROM by calling 1-800-363-2896 or by going to the following Microsoft Web site:

For detailed information about the issues addressed in this update and the installation options, see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

  • 167075: Availability of the Windows 98 Year 2000 Update

  • 168116: Microsoft Windows 98 Year 2000 Update README File

For those machines with Internet connections, the Windows 98 Year 2000 Update is also available from the Windows Update Web site:

It appears in the Critical Updates section and users of the Windows Critical Update Notification utility will be prompted to install this package.

The toll free number for Y2K Microsoft product compliance info is 1-888-MSFT-Y2K. The corresponding Web site is http://www.microsoft.com/Windows95/downloads/contents/WURecommended/S_WUFeatured/win95y2k/Default.asp.

When you speak of your "product," Mole can't tell if you're talking hardware, software, or cream cheese. If you're a system builder, you can ship certified systems by making sure all components and drivers appear on the Hardware Compatibility List, http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/server/howtobuy/upgrading/compat/default.asp. Hardware manufacturers and large-scale OEMs can assure compatibility with Microsoft Operating Systems by submitting their products and drivers for hardware testing by the Windows Hardware Quality Lab, http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/hwtest/default.mspx. Only if your product passes these tests may you legally certify its compatibility with Microsoft Windows Operating Systems.

As to updates, Mole suggests keeping a log of the date(s) you perform them. And make sure you instruct your customers, or users, on how to perform updates for themselves.

Cluster Server Virus Detection

Dear Mole,

What types of virus detection software do you recommend when implementing a Microsoft Cluster server arrangement?

Michael Keller, Systems Engineer, Applied Technology Ventures (ATV)

Michael,

Any server-based Virus Scanning software will work just fine on Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition. Something like Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus for Windows NT Server (http://www.symantec.com) will do the job.

Before a new application can take advantage of Windows NT's Clustering (failover) feature, a new cluster resource DLL needs to be written. To create a new resource type, you must write a resource DLL and a Cluster Administrator extension DLL.

The easiest way to build a resource DLL is to run the Resource Type AppWizard that ships with Windows NT Enterprise Edition.. This builds a skeletal resource DLL and/or Cluster Administrator extension DLL with all the entry points defined, declared, and exported. For complete instructions when creating the resource DLL, see the SDK sections "Creating a Custom Resource Type," "Using the Resource Type App Wizard," and "Customizing a Resource DLL." Note that this skeletal resource DLL will provide only the most basic failover and failback capability. Hope this helps.

Credits

Keith Van Hulle, Kim Ogden, Mohamed Belali


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