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Use SPVerify to insure Service Packs and hotfixes install correctly

Read this tip to learn how to use SPVerify and which commands are most helpful for receiving the desired reports.

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SPVerify (version 2.2) is a Microsoft-authored command-line tool that simulates installing a Windows Service Pack or hotfix—a sort of "preflight check" that determines what will be copied where when the actual installation takes place. This can be done to determine if, for instance, a given hotfix will fix a problem identified via a Knowledge Base article by bringing a component up to a specific revision number.

SPVerify does not actually run the hotfix, but analyzes the install information found inside the hotfix to determine what action the fix will take. Once run, SPVerify generates an XML-format log that tells the user what files were installed, replaced or changed. It does not, however, report back on other changes (i.e., Registry settings), only what files were changed. The program can be run either on files extracted from a package (using the –x command-line switch for the package) or on the package file itself.

SPVerify can produce reports of varying degrees of detail. The /l full command-line switch reports back on all the changes made by the package in question. /l warning (the default option) reports only what files are copied over or replaced. /l version simply returns the version numbers of the files in the package (a quick way to verify that a particular fix updates a component as needed).

The log produced by SPVerify is named SPVerify.xml by default and is saved in the same directory as the analyzed file(s). Use the /o switch to provide an alternate path for the file if needed. If you're looking at a package file, the /f switch forces the files in the package to be extracted before checking (i.e., to insure that the files can be extracted and read safely).

SPVerify runs on all versions of Windows 2000 / 2003 and Windows XP, and can be downloaded here.

Serdar Yegulalp is the editor of the Windows 2000 Power Users Newsletter. Check out his Windows 2000 blog for his latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators – please share your thoughts as well!

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