Shavlik Technologies released three free programs after Microsoft announced that it would discontinue its Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA) version 1.2.1 soon after releasing version 2.0. The 1.2.1 product had originally been developed by Shavlik for Microsoft. It supports the update of apps such as Office 2000, Exchange 5.0 and 5.5, SQL Server 7.0 and 2000, in addition to Windows 2000 and higher. Release 2.0, developed by Microsoft, supports only Office XP, Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000 and later.
Shavlik released its three free programs to give customers support for all the older software they still use. A huge side-benefit of this for individual Windows users is that a 10-PC version of NetChk Protect is one of the free downloads:
• NetChk Analyzer for Microsoft is a graphical program that scans drives for Microsoft applications only (without deploying any patches). It's free for an unlimited time.
• NetChk Analyzer is a command-line utility that scans drives for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications (without deploying any patches). It's free for one year for 1 to 25 PCs, then $4 per seat per year.
• NetChk Protect (the subject of my article today) is a graphical program that scans drives for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications and deploys needed patches. It's free for one year for 1 to 25 PCs, then $25/PC for the second year and about $6/PC for later years, with a minimum license of 5 PCs.
The first free year of NetChk Protect is all that home users of 1 or 2 PCs will ever need. The company will launch remote disk scanning and patch deployment on a special Web page in mid-October, Shavlik CTO Rick Greenwood told me in a telephone interview. This service, which will compete with Microsoft's own Windows Update site, will range in price from free to $39.95 per year. (Shavlik's executives haven't yet decided on the fee but say they want it to be affordable.)
To get the free download of NetChk Protect and start using it to find and install security patches for you, visit Shavlik's download page and click the Download Now button.
To get its free downloads, Shavlik asks that you enter e-mail, telephone, and postal contact information. You need to enter a valid e-mail address to receive the software license key Shavlik will send you, but I found that all the other fields can be filled with bogus info if you prefer not to provide your personal details.