I just stumbled upon the Microsoft articles explaining about HotPatching. A facility in Server 2003 SP1 and above that lets admins install updates without rebooting. Doesn’t work for all updates, but could be used for a lot.
Put simply you just add “/hotpatch:enable” as a switch at the end of a downloaded hotfix and it’ll try and HotPatch instead of ColdPatch. If the hotpatch fails it will do a normal coldpatch.
It’s a really cool idea really. They just append the modified code to the end of the binary and tell the app that running in memory to use the new code. After the next reboot the modified binary get’s replaced with the proper updated version.
Here’s a KB talking about what updates are compatible and how to use it: KB897341
And here’s a TechNet article about the technology: Whitepaper
Yet again, the usual annoyance with bloody Server 2003 SP1…argh!!! And now we have SP2 to play with too…what’s this one going to screw up I wonder…
If you’ve upgraded to 2003 SP1 on a server that has SMS2003, any delegated users that use the SMS console (e.g. for the remote control tools) will lose connectivity. See KB913000 article for assistance. It gets you to add a user or group to the ‘Distributed COM Users’ local group. God I should have known that one by now…
I found out a bit more about ‘why’ that makes it work and found the following article where you can give a security group remote launch and activation permissions.