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How to install and remove hotfixes with Hotfix.exe

This article was previously published under Q184305
Hotfix.exe is a utility used in the installation of Windows NT hotfixes. Ahotfix is a collection of one or more files that can be applied to a systemin order to correct a problem.

Hotfix.exe supports the following switches:

HOTFIX [-y] [-f] [-n] [-z] [-q] [-m] [-l]
-y Perform uninstall (only with -m or -q)
-f Force apps closed at shutdown
-n Do not create uninstall directory
-z Do not reboot when update completes
-q Quiet or Unattended mode with no user interface
(this switch is a superset of -m)
-m Unattended mode with user interface
-l List installed hotfixes
To view the available switches, type one of the following at a commandprompt:
   hotfix /?   hotfix /help   hotfix /h				
When you install a Windows NT hotfix, information about the hotfix isstored in the registry in the following key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Hotfix\<KBArticleNumber>
In this key, <KBArticleNumber> is the number of a Microsoft Knowledge Base article associated with a particular hotfix.Important At the end of the installation process, you may be prompted to restart your computer.

The installation of a hotfix also stores uninstall information in a hiddenfolder called %SystemRoot%\$NtUninstall<KBArticleNumber>$.

Perform the following steps to uninstall a Windows NT hotfix:
  1. Extract the files within the hotfix. To do this, copy the original file to a temporary folder and type the name of the hotfix with the "/x" switch. For example, to extract a hotfix called HotfixA without installing the files, type the following at a command prompt:hotfixa /x
  2. Type the following at a command prompt:hotfix -y
If multiple hotfixes replace the same file, you must remove the mostrecently installed hotfix first in order to successfully return your systemto its original state. For example, assume HotfixA and HotfixB replace thesame file and that you install HotfixA before you install HotfixB. If youwant to return your system to the state prior to the installation ofHotfixA, you must uninstall HotfixB before you uninstall HotfixA.

Note Chaining multiple hotfixes together for installation at the same time is not supported. Dependencies and timing issues can result in the hotfixes not being installed correctly.

Important If you plan to reinstall a Windows NT 4.0 update for any reason, you must first remove that update. Reinstalling an update without first removing that update corrupts the backup information such as files and registry keys and makes the update virtually uninstallable.

Hotfix.exe is included with each hotfix you download from the Microsoft ftpsite ( You can find more information about specific hotfixes on the following Microsoft site:For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
262841 Command-line switches for Windows software update packages
sp lifo last in first out hotfix.inf hotfix.ini

Article ID: 184305 - Last Review: 10/26/2007 15:56:56 - Revision: 2.3

  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
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