Rebooting your server every time you install a Microsoft hotfix on a Windows system is aggravating and time-consuming, but help has arrived. Microsoft’s new command-line tool, QChain, allows you to apply multiple hotfixes with a single reboot.

Among the many benefits of this tool, it:

  • Decreases the downtime of your servers.
  • Allows you to use batch files to increase the speed of multiple hotfix installations.
  • Works on various Windows platforms, as shown in Table A.

Table A
QChain platforms
Windows XP Home Edition
Windows XP Professional
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows 2000 Server
Windows 2000 Advanced Server
Windows 2000 Datacenter
Windows NT Workstation 4.0
Windows NT Server 4.0
Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition
Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition

Working with QChain
You can download this simple tool from Microsoft’s Web site. Then, just run the executable and install the file to the directory of your choice.

To install and apply hotfixes with only one reboot, follow these steps:

  1. Run each hotfix executable using the –z switch, which instructs the installer not to reboot, as shown in Figure A. You can also use the –m switch for quiet mode to suppress messages or prompts during the hotfix installation. Alternatively, you can drag a hotfix to the Run dialog box, as shown in Figure B.

Figure A

Figure B

  1. When you finish installing all of your hotfixes, prepare to run QChain.exe by opening a command prompt and browsing to the directory where you installed the files, as shown in Figure C.

Figure C

  1. Next, type qchain.exe [Output File] and press [Enter], and you’ll see the screen shown in Figure D. The resulting output file appears in Figure E.

Figure D

Figure E

  1. To complete the process, reboot your computer.

Instead of running each hotfix executable individually, you can also create a batch file using the following syntax:
@echo off
set PATHTOFIXES=some path
%PATHTOFIXES%\Q123456_w2k_sp2_x86.exe -z -m
%PATHTOFIXES%\Q123321_w2k_sp2_x86.exe -z -m
%PATHTOFIXES%\Q123789_w2k_sp2_x86.exe -z -m

Ready, set, hotfix!
Of course, to take advantage of this labor-saving utility, you need to know which hotfixes your system needs. So before you put QChain to work, download the Microsoft Network Security Hotfix Checker to verify what hotfixes you need. After you download all the hotfixes, just follow the above procedures to install them and then apply them with one reboot. QChain is a powerful tool for Windows administrators. Download it today.

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