Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In the 'good ole days' of NT, the rule of thumb was simple... if you had installed a service pack on a server and subsequently installed a piece of software that prompted you to insert the OS disc which then installed un-patched components, then you simply re-installed the latest service pack immediately afterwards to ensure that the new components got patched.

In today's auto-update world...when you have a fully patched server and you install a windows component that requires the OS disc to install additional items... is the auto-updates smart enough to always ensure every component is updated properly? Seems to be a pretty bold assumption.

To clarify further, let's pick an example...say you have IIS installed but not SMTP component on a 2003 server box. Years have gone by, along with many, many updates on the system. Someone then installs something that requires the SMTP component pieces and it now gets installed. If there are any new DLL's unique to this component, which were previously not on the system, then they are installed in their unpatched state from the OS disc.

Updates would have to know that IIS was fully patched prior to SMTP component, but now individual pieces need to be updated.

In general, do you rely on windows updates to properly handle this situation?

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted


This is Windows 2000 but it also applies to W2k3. The upshot is that you do not need to reapply service packs after using Add/Remove Windows Components.


share|improve this answer
Thanks for the link. That answers re-applying service pack issue, but what about Windows update fixes? The KB article states hotfixes would need to be reapplied. So - if you are on the latest service pack, and have had Windows Updates going for a long time and then install a new component - would the updates be smart enough to update the component properly for the post-service pack fixes? – Darian Miller Jun 9 '09 at 23:34
Yes, the Windows update will reapply any hotfixes needed. The $hf_mig$ directory in C:\Windows plays the same role for hotfixes as ServicePackFiles does for service packs. – John Rennie Jun 10 '09 at 7:42

Windows Update scans your system config every time it runs to see what it needs to offer you, so yes. Similar to your example I have installed IIS, gone a bit of time while getting updates from Windows Update, then installed ASP at a later time. Windows Update detected that ASP was there and began offering patches for it.

share|improve this answer
Do you rely on Windows Updates to handle this automatically then? You have no worries about installing components separately after many windows updates have already been applied to the latest service pack? – Darian Miller Jun 9 '09 at 23:35

You could also ensure you slipstream SP2 into the 2k3 disks so that when prompted you install SP2 components.

That way Windows Update will only download post-SP2 updates/fixes for that particular component.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.