Over on CRN is an article on SBS sp1 that just doesn’t ”quite” get it right and I’d like to specifically comment on a couple of items listed:

  • One new feature in SBS SP1 will help partners with the client issue: The client setup feature in SBS SP1 will support Windows XP SP2, Microsoft said.

Not quite following what this sentence is referring to?  You can set up XP SP2 machines now with no sweat you just add your connectcomputer web site to the trusted zone and all works wonderfully, if that’s what this sentence is all about?

  • Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., said partners should use the enhanced Configuration Wizard in SBS 2003 SP1, and not attempt to use the Security Configuration Wizard in Windows Server 2003 SP1. Doing so would remove some of the “glue” that integrates the server components in SBS 2003, causing server crashes and other headaches, Microsoft said.

…huh?  ….um… as far as I know we don’t ‘have’ a ‘enhanced configuration wizard in SBS 2003 sp1’ versus the normal Windows 2003 sp1 ‘security configuration wizard’.  Mind you I purposely installed Windows 2003 sp1 and ran the SCW [you know the one we really shouldn’t run on our box and chose the defaults] on the server that I’m now typing via this blog and as you can see… my server isn’t crashing.  It didn’t DO anything worth running the wizard for… it shut off IPsec services which now makes an alert email to be sent to me daily and it truly didn’t harden anything, but it certainly isn’t causing server crashes.  Honestly SBS 2003 is pretty darn well tweaked as it can be for running what it does.  It’s my understanding that the icon for the SCW just won’t be on the desktop and in the readme file … you know the thing we never read… it will say we’re pretty tweaked, hardened and secured already [well, if we kill on Windows 98s we would be anyway] and we don’t need to run the SCW. 

  • Most partners are aware of the “do not install” rule for Windows Server 2003 SP1 on SBS, said Jason Harrison, president of Harrison Technology Consulting, Nashville, N.C. Harrison explained that individual Service Packs available for Exchange, SQL and ISA may not work well with SBS management tools.

Huh?  On my PRODUCTION [yes that’s Production with a P] real live server a the office I’ve installed Exchange 2003 sp1, ISA 2000 sp2, Sharepoint SP1 and obviously during the install of SQL, SP3.  Now because ‘this’ install is a bundle of ISA 2004 and what not, that’s why they are recommending that we wait for ‘OUR’ SBS 2003 sp1, but as I stated, I installed Windows 2003 sp1 RC on this testing machine at home.  My management tools are just fine. 

We are normal parts.  Let me repeat that…. SBS 2003 is made up of normal parts of Windows, Exchange, SQL, ISA, Sharepoint, etc. and normally you can install any Service pack for a ‘part’ to us.  Do not get the idea that individual service packs are not supported on a SBS box.  In fact if you merely Windows update, you get Sharepoint SP1.  In fact last month’s patches included a patch that you HAD to be on Sharepoint SP1 before it installed. 

For this time only because of the bundle with ISA 2004 for premium, because of it being so close to being shipped out to ‘normal’ Windows 2003 sp1, we’re saying ‘wait for ‘our’ Service pack’. However, do not think that you cannot install the normal service packs of the ‘parts’ of SBS ON SBS.

The best thing to harden a SBS network is to upgrade every last one of your Windows 98 machines to Windows XP sp2.  I know that my life is truly easier being all borg.  I only have to worry about patching Windows xp sp2 and Office 2003 at my office and thus my ‘radar’ for watching for potential issues is very focused.  I can understand folks that use LOB apps that can’t run on the new stuff, but for other folks… honestly, you’ll make your out of pocket costs back in the lack of rebooting of that Win98 platform and gain of productivity.

Bottom line folks, and you are talkin’ to a veteran of testing patches on SBS boxes and patchin’ SBS boxes and ensuring that they are kept in working condition and kept well patched, there isn’t a service pack for a ‘part’ of SBS that I haven’t installed on my office network.  I’ve never waited for a ‘specific’ SBS service pack.  I’m only doing it this time for the Windows service pack part because ‘ours’ will come out in close alignment with the Windows 2003 sp1, and we’re specifically getting ISA 2004 [for premium customers] with ‘our’ SBS 2003 sp1.


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