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Microsoft Issues Fix For SharePoint Services Bug In Small Business Server 2003

Microsoft released an official fix for the bug in the add-on to Windows SharePoint Services. The bug affected customers after Nov. 24 when installing or upgrading the newly integrated Windows SharePoint Services in the Windows Small Business Server 2003 and in the Windows Server 2003, said Katy Hunter, a product manager at Microsoft.

Both the standard and premium editions of SBS 2003 were affected by the bug, the Redmond, Wash.-based company said. The CDs with the WSS bug fix for SBS 2003 began shipping last week, Hunter said.

Microsoft released a workaround to the problem in late November and plans to slipstream the new fix into the base product by mid-January.

While Microsoft's loyal solution providers dismissed the bug as a minor inconvenience, it compromised one of the key selling points of the upgrade: faster installations.

Microsoft's own press release promised that the upgrade would help partners and OEMs build and deploy systems 90 percent faster.

On its Web site, Microsoft explained the glitch: "The problem is due to an error in the way certain dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) are validated. Currently, the installation process incorrectly interprets some DLLs as invalid, when in fact they are valid."

Partners have used workarounds to continue deployments of the new server software, officially launched at Microsoft Momentum on Oct. 9. Also, Microsoft will make available on Monday a patch that fixes the problem once customers run into the error.

"It works for us," said Jason Harrison, owner of solution provider Harrison Technology Consulting, Nashville, N.C., about the latest fix. "The temporary workaround was no big deal either. There's more fuss over this than warranted. Sure, it was yet another glitch in a Microsoft product, but hey, software is an imperfect thing."

Harry Brelsford, a consultant in Bainbridge Island, Wash., and author of books about Microsoft's Small Business Server, described the issue as the "DLL time stamp problem" and pointed to a simple workaround. Partners, he said, should roll system time back to some date before Nov. 24 and do a reinstall of the WSS component.

Another solution provider said he could appreciate the improved installation process once he got a workaround. "Although I described a difficult SBS upgrade from 4.5 to 2003, which was due in part to a now-known bug, our experience in general has been much better," said Marc Harrison, president of Silicon East, a solution provider in Manalapan, N.J. "One in-place upgrade we did from SBS 2000 to 2003 took a total of just three hours. We were very impressed."

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