Shavlik Upgrades Patch Inspection Tool

HFNetChkPro 3.8 is only available for Microsoft software, although company expects to expand its reach.

Shavlik Technologies LLC on Monday will release an updated version of its HFNetChkPro patch inspection tool, which will include a new patch rating system and a new structure that provides a detailed view of the status of each machine.

Version 3.8 of the tool, which is a full-featured edition of the free software that Shavlik wrote for Microsoft Corp., now includes a tree structure in the user interface that enables an administrator to search through his network by patch name to see which machines have a given fix. Users can also select any machine on the network and get a list of which patches have been applied to that computer.

The new version also includes push delivery of patches as well as a detailed patch installation database, which includes descriptions of each fix and verification that each file came from Microsoft.

HFNetChkPro is only available for Microsoft machines at present, but company executives said they want to expand to other environments in the near future.

"Wed like to get other vendors in on this," said Mark Shavlik, CEO of the company, based in St. Paul, Minn. "Microsoft was the start, but Apache is having problems, Oracle is having problems."

The company is currently writing some new tools and a set of XML tags that will support 23 languages. Shavlik plans to take that technology to other vendors and either license it to them at cost or for free.

Shavlik has a joint development arrangement with Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft right now, meaning that either company can evolve the source code of HFNetChk.

Further underscoring this tight relationship, Shavlik has hired Eric Schultze, a former senior technologist in Microsofts Security Strategies group. Schultze will serve as executive director of research and development at Shavlik.

HFNetChkPro will be available Monday.