I've taken over some additional duties on my company's IIS 5.0 and IIS 4.0 machines, including patching all the IIS servers and maintaining those patches. This task would be simple enough except that I have no documentation for any of these servers. How can I know what other administrators have done on them?

The fastest way to make sure that your IIS servers have the necessary hotfixes might surprise you: It's Microsoft Windows Update, which you can download from http://windowsupdate .microsoft.com. Now, before you shake your head in disbelief, you should know that Microsoft recently added IIS to the list of services that Windows Update checks, and the Security Update package that the tool offers contains required IIS hotfixes. Don't think that you should blindly load anything Windows Update offers, but this tool can often be a quick way to locate and download a hotfix that you or your predecessors might not have applied.

Although Windows Update is useful, if you have 100 servers, you need a tool that reports on all your servers. For such a situation, Microsoft offers the Microsoft Network Security Hotfix Checker (Hfnetchk) tool, which reports on the hotfixes that you need to install on one server or on all systems on a network. You can find this very useful and much-requested tool at http:// www.microsoft.com/technet/it solutions/security/tools/hfnetchk.asp.

Here's another tip. Consider creating a Favorites shortcut to the Microsoft TechNet Security Web site. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), then navigate to http://www .microsoft.com/technet/security/default.asp.
  2. Click the IE icon that precedes the URL in the Address field, then drag the icon to the Links toolbar.
  3. Right-click the new link, then select Rename. Rename the link Microsoft Security or another suitable name.
  4. Right-click the link again, then select Make available offline. This step launches the almost-unheard-of Offline Favorites Wizard.
  5. Click Next twice, then select the I would like to create a new schedule option.
  6. Set the page synchronization to once daily, then click Next, Finish.

The Favorites link appears with a red star, which disappears when you visit the link but reappears when a change occurrs on the link page.