Shavlik will lift download restrictions

By Brian Livingston

I announced in the July 13 newsletter that Shavlik Technologies, a well-known patch-management vendor, had released a free and capable replacement for Microsoft’s Windows Update (WU) service.

The Shavlik program, known as NetChk Protect, is free for up to one year, can remotely update 1 to 10 PCs from a single PC on a network, and supports far more programs than Microsoft’s offering does.

Many Windows users now mistrust WU because Microsoft uses itto install marketing nagware such as the controversial Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA), as I explained on June 15.

Unfortunately, Shavlik’s products have historically appealed primarily to large enterprises, not small businesses or home users. As a result of an old policy, Shavlik’s download page has been refusing to deliver license keys by e-mail to registrants who use addresses at Internet service providers, such as,, and others.

This policy was originally designed to limit downloads only to Shavlik’s target market — system administrators who use e-mail addresses with “corporate-sounding” domain names.

Once Shavlik had released a free-trial product designed for only 1 to 10 users, however, the company was squarely targeting the SOHO market (small office/home office). The e-mail address restriction should have been removed.

Shavlik officials have told me that the company’s barrier to ISP-based e-mail addresses will be gone from the company’s site by this Friday evening. They’ve also provided me with technical tips to aid NetChk Protect users who run Windows XP Home, which requires different handling than XP Pro and other versions of Windows.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2006-07-20: