New cool feature enabled in Vista SP1: Hotpatching

Windows Vista SP1 enables support for hotpatching, a reboot-reduction servicing technology designed to maximize uptime. It works by allowing Windows components to be updated (or "patched") while they are still in use by a running process. Hotpatch-enabled update packages are installed via the same methods as traditional update packages, and will not trigger a system reboot.

Other changes:

  • Improves patch deployment by retrying failed updates in cases where multiple updates are pending and the failure of one update causes other updates to fail as well.
  • Enables reliable OS installation by optimizing OS installers so that they are run only when required during patch installation. Fewer installers operating results in fewer points of potential failure during installation, which leads to more robust and reliable installation.
  • Improves overall install time for updates by optimizing the query for installed OS updates.
  • Improves robustness during the patch installation by being resilient to transient errors such as sharing violations or access violations.
  • Improves robustness of transient failures during the disk cleanup of old OS files after install.
  • Improves the uninstallation experience for OS updates by improving the uninstallation routines in custom OS installation code.
  • Improves reliability of OS updates by making them more resilient to unexpected interruptions, such as power failure
News source: microsoft.com

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43 Comments

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Why didn't they just build Windows with this feature from the outset, like, how ever many decades ago?

Anyway. Good to hear.

That's what I'd like to know. Apple started doing this when they came out with OS X back in .... 2000'ish. It's about time Windows caught up.

sounds like a lot of improvements for the installation.....how does that help us, who already have it installed?

How many hackers must be playing with this new feature right now?
Thanks Microsoft for this wonderful backdoor! :cheeky:

Anyway, is nice to know that from now, less reboots are required.

Good

markjensen said,
Why would you think it would be any less "secure"?

Just think about how easy it could be to compromise a user's machine, no more waiting for reboots to activate cracked/hijacked files, just patch them on the fly and activate the malicious coding. its good and bad at the same time, but all progress is like that.

Ogmius said,

Just think about how easy it could be to compromise a user's machine, no more waiting for reboots to activate cracked/hijacked files, just patch them on the fly and activate the malicious coding. its good and bad at the same time, but all progress is like that.

One can already hijack a machine without rebooting. In fact, it's been done since the very dawn of the age of malware.

Rebooting for updating MS Office doesn't make your PC more secure.

If a piece of running code has admin access to your system, you're boned anyway. The only way to be secure is to keep UAC on, and remember: LUA.

I think what Vista does at present is not prompt you to restart (mostly) but update when it shuts down, I have seen it a few times after updates that just after it logs off in preperation to shut down, the screen says "Windows is now updating" and explains they can't be updated while they are in use, then 5 minutes later you finally get to shut it down ... I figure then this will no longer happen and they will just be updated live.

necrosis said,
Wow. Windows can finally do something *nix has been able to do for years.
And it took Windows a while to have true account separation and 'run as non-admin', too. And it took Linux until just very recently to have a graphical safe mode if X fails to start.

All OSes are striving to improve. Your point?

Even back in XP most patches wouldn't technically have needed a reboot, even the display driver should technically have been able to have been rpelaced without a reboot. just noone ever did, even on patches that absolutely didn't require it reboots where added to the patch. and they kept doing it with Vista even though they removed even more of the barriers required for reboots.


And if you run a consumer lilnux OS, there's still plenty of reboots required when patching. Being able to do somethign doesn't necessairly mean you do it, or that it's the best choice for every situation.

HawkMan said,
And if you run a consumer lilnux OS, there's still plenty of reboots required when patching. Being able to do somethign doesn't necessairly mean you do it, or that it's the best choice for every situation.
I have only seen that for the kernel. And we just got an MS Office update here at work with a forced reboot.

But that is a topic for another thread. ;)


EDIT: And this just posted News item is another Office update that states (in the Microsoft whitepaper)

However, if any Office files are in use, a system restart is required and this message will be displayed instead: “Do you want to reboot now to complete the installation of this package?”
I can't recall any OpenOffice or Abiword update that required me to reboot. :P

markjensen said,
And it took Windows a while to have true account separation and 'run as non-admin', too. And it took Linux until just very recently to have a graphical safe mode if X fails to start.

All OSes are striving to improve. Your point?


With your words -- that Windows is aimed for graphical user interfaces and ease of use, while *nix is aimed for security and robustness, I suppose.

Jugalator said,
With your words -- that Windows is aimed for graphical user interfaces and ease of use, while *nix is aimed for security and robustness, I suppose. :)
I would say that was a fair assessment of the past for both of those platforms. Recent efforts from both camps are tending to strengthen what has traditionally been considered their weaker points.

FATILA said,
Vista was stated to need less reboots than XP, this is another step in reboot reduction.

Actually, Vista was stated as requiring fewer reboots than Xp.

Microsoft is on fire now....

why is this the case with Microsoft that when they release anything new they don't cover everything and patching makes it the best?

First its with XP then with Zune now Vista and no one know how many products in between. I really hated XP until sp1 and really liked it when Sp2 was out! loads of features with sp2 and with Zune firmware v2, its gaining the market and I'm sure with vista service packs, people will stop whining about the new OS and will realize that its not just XP with visual changes.

Jolidog said,
Giving a product something promised for launch a year later is not being on fire, it's putting out fires!

Of course its putting out fires but I'm looking at the amount of work being done from Microsoft in the past 2-3 months. Hell loads of releases in this period.

I wasn't undermining que effort or excelence of microsoft software and programers. It's just the way they're making bussiness, basicly I blame the marketting departments! :P

Jolidog said,
I wasn't undermining que effort or excelence of microsoft software and programers. It's just the way they're making bussiness, basicly I blame the marketting departments! :P

nope, im not part of MS marketing dept :P

I'm pretty sure this was supposed to be in Vista originally. I wondered what became of it. Also, what happened with Freeze Dry? I have noticed rare occurances where the system will restart and automatically log me in and open applications after an automatic reboot, so I guess it is in Vista in some form...

petroid said,
I'm pretty sure this was supposed to be in Vista originally. I wondered what became of it. Also, what happened with Freeze Dry? I have noticed rare occurances where the system will restart and automatically log me in and open applications after an automatic reboot, so I guess it is in Vista in some form...

You are right.. this should have already been in Vista.. but Microsoft Shipped Vista with unfinished code and this is why it was not in when Vista was shipped.

Figures... no one wants to be rebooting Windows 2008 Server... and the code bases are getting synchronized with SP1 release instead of going the split base XP/2003 route of the previous generations. Good feature though none the less and a disappointment it wasn't a part of previous Server versions.

wasnt this supposed to be one of the bonuses when vista was first released ?? it may stop it being triggered for a reboot but i bet you any money for most of the patchers to be applied they will still require a reboot

I must have been totally confused because I always though this was to be a feature of Vista RTM. :/

I thought I kept hearing Vista to be oh so less prone to need reboots... But have hardly seen a difference.

But sure, this is good news.