Description of the contents of Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2003 software update packages

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Article ID: 824994 - View products that this article applies to.
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SUMMARY

This article describes why software updates for one or more of the products that are listed in the "Applies to" section include two or more copies of the same files. These software updates include the following:
  • security updates
  • critical updates
  • updates
  • update rollups
  • drivers
  • feature packs
This article also describes how to determine what files are appropriate for a specific computer.

MORE INFORMATION

Microsoft creates software updates for the products that are listed in the "Applies to" section in two different development environments. Software updates that address widespread critical issues, such as security vulnerabilities, and that are broadly released by Microsoft are also known as general distribution releases (GDRs). These software updates include the following:
  • security updates
  • critical updates
  • updates
  • update rollups
  • drivers
  • feature packs
These software updates are created in a development environment that is separate from hotfixes. Hotfixes are distributed by Microsoft Product Support Services to address a specific customer situation. Hotfixes are produced quickly to provide immediate assistance to specific Microsoft customers. Therefore, hotfixes may not be tested as thoroughly as security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs. Microsoft maintains different development environments to isolate security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs from hotfixes and the ongoing development work that is being performed by Microsoft for subsequent service packs. This process minimizes the risk for customers by allowing them to install only fixes that address widespread critical issues, such as security vulnerabilities, and that do not include hotfix files.

Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs for the products that are listed in the "Applies to" section include two or more copies of the same files to support these two different development environments for each "cardinal point" in the product's release cycle. A cardinal point exists for the original release version of the product and each service pack (SPx). GDR and hotfix copies of the same files are put in different folders in the software update package for each cardinal point in the product's release cycle. For example, before Service Pack 1 (SP1), security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs for Windows Server 2003 contain two copies of the same files in RTMGDR and RTMQFE folders. After SP1 is released, Windows Server 2003 security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs may contain copies of the same files in RTMGDR and RTMQFE folders and SP1GDR and SP1QFE folders. Files in the <cardinal point>GDR folders contain only GDR-class fixes. Files in the <cardinal point>QFE folders are cumulative and contain both the GDR-class fix and all previous hotfixes that affect the included binaries. Because Microsoft provides support for the current and the next most recent service pack (N and N-1), security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs may contain up to six versions of the same files.

When you install a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, or feature pack, the package installer (Update.exe) checks to see if your existing files are from the original release version (RTM), SPx, or the GDR environment or hotfix environment. If all the files that are being updated on your computer are from the original release version, SPx, or GDR environment (you have not previously installed a hotfix to update one of the files since the last cardinal point was established) then Update.exe installs the files from the appropriate GDR folder to your computer. If any of the files that are being updated on your computer are from the hotfix environment (you have previously installed a hotfix to update one of the files since the last cardinal point was established), Update.exe installs the files from the appropriate QFE folder to your computer.

To determine whether a file on your computer is from the GDR or hotfix environment, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Search, and then click For Files and Folders. Alternatively, click Start, and then click Search.
  2. In the All or part of the file name box, type the file name and then click Search.
  3. In the search results pane, right-click the file and then click Properties.
  4. On the Version tab, click File version in the Other version information area.
The following tables list the possible formats for the file version:

Windows Server 2003
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srv03_rtm.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from the original release version of the product and has not been updated by a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, feature pack, or hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a GDR version.
srv03_spx_gdr.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, or feature pack and has not been updated by a hotfix. It is the build that is based on SPx Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a GDR version.
srv03_spx_rtm.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from SPx and has not been updated by a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, feature pack, or hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a GDR version.
srv03_spx_qfe.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from a hotfix. It is the build that is based on SPx. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a hotfix version that also includes the GDR fix.
Windows XP SP2
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xpclient.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from the original release version of the product and has not been updated by a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, feature pack, or hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a GDR version.
xpsp_spx_gdr.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, or feature pack and has not been updated by a hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a GDR version.
xpspx.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from a hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a hotfix version that also includes the GDR fix.
xpspxrtm.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from SPx and has not been updated by a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, feature pack or hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a GDR version.
xpclnt_qfe.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from a hotfix. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a hotfix version that also includes the GDR fix.
xpsp.mmmmmm-nnnnThis format indicates that the file is from a pre-SP3 hotfix. SP 2 is required for this file to install. Security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will replace the file with a hotfix version that also includes the GDR fix.

How to force the default branch to QFE at installation

The /B switch is an option that is used as part of an internal Update.exe branching installation operation. The switch changes the default branch that is used to install a branching package. All GDR packages are authored so that the GDR binaries will be the default binaries that are installed on the system. The installer will use the /B switch to communicate the requirement to switch over to the QFE branch.

The /B switch does not force the installer to install a package on any particular branch. The switch just changes the branch where the program starts evaluating the branch from which to install. The program chooses to install the most appropriate version of the binaries that are available on the system. For example, assume that you have a system that contains QFE bits that overlap with a GDR package that you are installing. If you install the package by using the /b:RTMGDR switch, you still end up with the QFE branch binaries. The QFE branch is typically the highest branch. Therefore, when you install the package by using the /b:RTMQFE switch, you are generally forced over to the QFE branch.

Note The text that follows the/b switch must use the name of the branch as it appears in the package itself. The text uses the following format.
  • Windows XP
    cardinal point QFE WindowsXp-KB826939-x86-ENU.exe /b:SP2QFE
  • Windows Server 2003
    cardinal point QFE WindowsServer2003-KB826939-x86-ENU.exe /b:RTMQFE
The following table summarizes how the default branch that you select changes installer behavior for various system states.
Collapse this tableExpand this table
Package to installGDR (n)GDR (n-1) QFE (n)QFE (n-1)
GDR (n)GDR(n) installedGDR(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installed
GDR (n) /b:cardinal point QFEQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installed
GDR (n-1)GDR(n) installedGDR(n-1) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installed
GDR (n-1) /b:cardinal point QFEQFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installed
QFE (n)QFE(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installed
QFE (n) /b:cardinal point GDRQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n) installed
QFE (n-1)QFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installed
QFE (n-1) /b:cardinal point GDRQFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installedQFE(n) installedQFE(n-1) installed
Warning The /b switch cannot be used to install the GDR branch of a package in the presence of an installed QFE package that contains overlapping binaries.

Notes
  • GDR-class fixes are included in hotfix files, but hotfixes are not included in GDR version files.
  • The GDR and hotfix versions of a particular file in a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, or feature pack package will typically have the same version numbers. If the version numbers are different then the hotfix file will have a later version number. This indicates that the hotfix file includes a hotfix that was created after the GDR-class fix.
  • GDR version files are installed when one of the following conditions is true:
    • The files on your computer are the original released versions (srv03_rtm.mmmmmm-nnnn or xpclient.mmmmmm-nnnn).
    • The files on your computer are service pack versions (srv03_spx.mmmmmm-nnnn or xpspx.mmmmmm-nnnn).
    • The files on your computer are GDR versions (srv03_gdr.mmmmmm-nnnn, xpsp_spx_gdr.mmmmmm-nnnn).
  • When a security update, critical update, update, update rollup, driver, or feature pack installs GDR version files, the hotfix files are also copied to the %windir%\$hf_mig$ folder. This supports migration to the appropriate files if you later install a hotfix or service pack that includes earlier versions of these files. For example, consider the following scenario:
    1. You apply a security update that installs a GDR version of File.dll with a version number of 5.2.3790.1000 and copies a hotfix version of File.dll with a version number of 5.2.3790.1000 to the %windir%\$hf_mig$ folder.
    2. You apply a hotfix that includes a hotfix version of File.dll with a version number of 5.2.3790.0000.
    In this scenario the hotfix installation in step 2 installs the hotfix version of File.dll (version number 5.2.3790.1000) from the %windir%\$hf_mig$ folder instead of the hotfix version of File.dll (version number 5.2.3790.0000) from the hotfix package.
  • Hotfix files are only installed when the files on your computer are hotfix versions (srv03_qfe.mmmmmm-nnnn, xpsp.mmmmmm-nnnn, or xpclnt_qfe.mmmmmm-nnnn) or depend on other hotfix version files.
  • Windows Server 2003 hotfix packages only include files with "QFE" file versions.
  • If you have not installed a hotfix to update files since the last cardinal point was established for those files then security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will install the GDR version of those files.
  • When you install a Windows service pack, all files that are updated with the service pack are upgraded to the "cardinal point" for that service pack. Therefore, security updates, critical updates, updates, update rollups, drivers, and feature packs will then replace the service pack files with the GDR versions until you install a hotfix.
  • All Windows Server 2003 software updates and Windows XP SP2 and later software updates contain both QFE and GDR files.

REFERENCES

For more information about Windows XP software updates, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
328848 Description of dual-mode update packages for Windows XP
For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824684 Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates

Properties

Article ID: 824994 - Last Review: January 16, 2008 - Revision: 11.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional 64-Bit Edition (Itanium) 2003
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (SP2)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Keywords: 
KB824994

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