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How can I determine if users have updated the latest patches?

Expert Serdar Yegulalp explains how to determine whether Windows XP users have updated their Windows updates and Symantec antivirus definition file.

I have 10 Windows XP clients and want to know if they have updated their Windows updates and Symantec antivirus definition file. How can I do this?
There are a number of third-party programs that do an excellent job of polling machines in a domain to determine if they are up-to-date with the latest patches. The one I recommend most is Gravity Storm Software's Service Pack Manager 2000, which not only checks for updates to Windows but also for updates to Microsoft server products such as SQL Server. This makes it useful for managing desktops and server farms, both.

Checking remotely for updates to Symantec antivirus definition files probably involves using the Symantec AntiVirus Corporate Edition management interface – in other words, it's probably not possible to do this automatically using desktop editions of the product. You would need to check with Symantec directly to see if this is possible.

It might also be possible to use a Group Policy to run a script (either a VBScript or a batch file) that examines the file time/date of the antivirus program's pattern definition file to see if it matches or is later than one you have on file. (I'm unfortunately not much of programmer, or I'd be happy to throw together a sample script to demonstrate how to do this!)

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