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Installing patches without testing them

Do you recommend installing patches without testing them first? I installed a patch for Windows NT 4.0 SP6 that resulted in disabling the session manager. There was no alternative but to return to the last backup image copy. Unfortunately, this was several patches back.

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I would never recommend installing a patch without testing its effect on the environment in place. Having a QA environment that mirrors your live environment will always help ensure patches work correctly. I suggest convincing your management team to approve QA equipment to mirror your live equipment in order to properly test your patches and updates. If the uptime of your live equipment is important to company revenue this should be a worthwhile investment. Of course, nothing is 100% accurate so always make sure the patch is needed before installing.

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
  • Featured Topic: Patchwork overload
  • Ask the Expert: Testing security patches
  • Best Web Links: Patches/patch management

    This was first published in October 2002

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