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MSFT Files patent To Repair Corrupt Software via Downloads

By - Source: USPTO | B 18 comments

We will file this item under 'Why has this taken so long?'

Microsoft filed a patent that describes a process for repairing corrupt software. The patent goes far beyond the traditional System Restore in Windows and uses a download capability to fix a software problem. Conceivably, this could be a critical milestone toward the achievement of an operating system that largely maintains itself and does not surprise its user with a note that some file is missing and that Windows isn't able to boot as a result. Windows has been prone to such problems especially during OS upgrade processes and even simple software updates that, for example, affected some Windows Vista SP2 users who tried upgrading IE8 to IE9.

The patent application, filed in December 2010, states that Windows may be able "to resolve problems that occur when corrupt software is updated by allowing a corrupt component to be repaired and then uninstalled such that an updated component can be properly installed." It is a pretty straight-forward approach that uses "the smallest amount of data necessary to repair the identified corruption." According to the filing, the validation of a repair file would be done via a secure hash key.

Microsoft also envisions this technology will run semi-autonomously. While a user can initiate a "corruption scan," the OS can also initiate the repair service by itself when an error message is received from the software updating service that could, for example, include a malware warning. A successful repair would also run automatically and check "whether all of the corrupt software components have been updated." Based on the success or failure of the update, additional file replacements can take place, if needed.

The patent application does not provide any information on what the repair service would do if the attempt to replace a corrupt file fails.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    dextermat , June 15, 2012 4:22 PM
    Quote:
    We will file this item under 'Why has this taken so long?'


    Indeed my friend, Indeed
Other Comments
  • 2 Hide
    dogman_1234 , June 15, 2012 4:11 PM
    Wait, we can patent ideas without a tangible product? Jackpot!

  • 11 Hide
    dextermat , June 15, 2012 4:22 PM
    Quote:
    We will file this item under 'Why has this taken so long?'


    Indeed my friend, Indeed
  • Display all 18 comments.
  • 7 Hide
    Anomalyx , June 15, 2012 4:39 PM
    Doesn't Steam already do this? I click on "verify integrity of game files" and it scans through them, chucks the corrupted ones, and re-downloads that portion.

    MS, it's about dang time.

    It's a shame it's probably only going to show up in Windows Vista 2..... I mean, Windows 8.
  • 6 Hide
    jhansonxi , June 15, 2012 4:54 PM
    AnomalyxDoesn't Steam already do this? I click on "verify integrity of game files" and it scans through them, chucks the corrupted ones, and re-downloads that portion.
    BitTorrent does something similar. The uninstallation step is trivial and the verification key is obvious. This patent seems like someone wanted to look productive so they made donation to the patent office.
  • -4 Hide
    K2N hater , June 15, 2012 4:55 PM
    AnomalyxDoesn't Steam already do this? I click on "verify integrity of game files" and it scans through them, chucks the corrupted ones, and re-downloads that portion.MS, it's about dang time.It's a shame it's probably only going to show up in Windows Vista 2..... I mean, Windows 8.

    Yup MS is playing the patent troll here. MMO games in general have always had that feature.
  • 0 Hide
    RealBeast , June 15, 2012 5:02 PM
    dogman_1234Wait, we can patent ideas without a tangible product? Jackpot!

    Yup, not ideas -- but inventions. The filing of the patent is considered a constructive reduction to practice, i.e. the same as actually making it as long as there is sufficient detail in the patent for someone to make the invention.

    And it only takes one new thing over prior art that is non-obvious to patent it, so if you invented an ABC, I could patent an ABCD. If I actually make or use my ABCD I infringe on your patent but mine is still valid.
  • 7 Hide
    blazorthon , June 15, 2012 5:23 PM
    K2N haterYup MS is playing the patent troll here. MMO games in general have always had that feature.


    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't MS not being a patent troll with this patent at least until they sue someone over it?
  • -6 Hide
    s3anister , June 15, 2012 5:24 PM
    AnomalyxDoesn't Steam already do this? I click on "verify integrity of game files" and it scans through them, chucks the corrupted ones, and re-downloads that portion.MS, it's about dang time.It's a shame it's probably only going to show up in Windows Vista 2..... I mean, Windows 8.

    Hey, I thought everyone knew Windows 8 is actually Windows ME - Second Edition.
  • 6 Hide
    blazorthon , June 15, 2012 5:34 PM
    s3anisterHey, I thought everyone knew Windows 8 is actually Windows ME - Second Edition.


    That's enough with the mindless Windows 8 bashing. Windows 8 is better than its predecessors in every way as an OS. Windows 8 is faster, stable, and will have supreme driver support once it releases. Metro is the only problem and even that can be easily solved by installing Classic Shell (even the RC and the full versions still and will still allow this, although the registry hacks and such don't work anymore). Should we have to do this if we don't want Metro? No, we should not. However, mocking the OS for the wrong reasons, even if it does have a problem, is wrong. Excluding Metro, Windows 8 is better than 7 in every practical way. It is faster, lighter, and still has high stability and driver support compared to other operating systems when MS released them. If you don't like it, then you could at least mock it for the problem that it does have, Metro, or just ignore it and stick with XP/7 or OSX/Linux.
  • -4 Hide
    K2N hater , June 15, 2012 5:36 PM
    blazorthonCorrect me if I'm wrong, but isn't MS not being a patent troll with this patent at least until they sue someone over it?

    That's the sole purpose for registering a patent these days... Got your point but I'm not the kind who believes MS is into fair business.
  • -1 Hide
    eddieroolz , June 15, 2012 6:01 PM
    I hope this won't decide to overwrite the custom themes and resource files.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 15, 2012 6:04 PM
    This has been used in many programs for decades. If this patent is granted its just another sign of just how broken the patent system is.
  • 0 Hide
    waethorn , June 15, 2012 9:02 PM
    blazorthonThat's enough with the mindless Windows 8 bashing. Windows 8 is better than its predecessors in every way as an OS. Windows 8 is faster, stable, and will have supreme driver support once it releases. Metro is the only problem and even that can be easily solved by installing Classic Shell (even the RC and the full versions still and will still allow this, although the registry hacks and such don't work anymore). Should we have to do this if we don't want Metro? No, we should not. However, mocking the OS for the wrong reasons, even if it does have a problem, is wrong. Excluding Metro, Windows 8 is better than 7 in every practical way. It is faster, lighter, and still has high stability and driver support compared to other operating systems when MS released them. If you don't like it, then you could at least mock it for the problem that it does have, Metro, or just ignore it and stick with XP/7 or OSX/Linux.


    Actually, when Vista came out, I never had any problems with it. People said it was slow, but I never found it slower than XP, and they said it was annoying, yet it follows the security practises of any current OS, except that Vista only allows admins to install software, which is the way it should be IMO (users should NOT be allowed to install software into their own profile folder). Not only that, but the deployment of Vista is so much easier and more efficient than XP/2000. The deployment tools are awesome, and the way that Microsoft configured the install is by setting up the folder structure and just backing up a hard drive into a compressed file - the same way any IT person will clone a PC. This is why Vista/7/8 all install in under 15 minutes flat. It just extracts a pre-installed image from the disc.

    Likewise, when ME came out, I jumped on it right away. I found audio was far more efficient in ME because my sound card vendor actually produced proper WDM drivers for it. Gaming framerates improved....because of audio. Also, using ANYTHING with 1394 (USB 2.0 wasn't out yet) connections meant that it ran like crap if you were using 98, since 98 didn't support OHCI 1394 out of the box. ME had support included, so you just popped a 1394 card in, booted up Windows ME and it loaded the drivers automatically. Plug a 1394 hard drive in, and you're laughing. I had a 1394 hard drive, a DVD burner, and a camcorder at the time and did digital video editing on the machine. It was usable with ME. Not so with 98SE.
  • 2 Hide
    chewy1963 , June 15, 2012 10:22 PM
    blazorthonThat's enough with the mindless Windows 8 bashing. Windows 8 is better than its predecessors in every way as an OS. Windows 8 is faster, stable, and will have supreme driver support once it releases. Metro is the only problem and even that can be easily solved by installing Classic Shell (even the RC and the full versions still and will still allow this, although the registry hacks and such don't work anymore). Should we have to do this if we don't want Metro? No, we should not. However, mocking the OS for the wrong reasons, even if it does have a problem, is wrong. Excluding Metro, Windows 8 is better than 7 in every practical way. It is faster, lighter, and still has high stability and driver support compared to other operating systems when MS released them. If you don't like it, then you could at least mock it for the problem that it does have, Metro, or just ignore it and stick with XP/7 or OSX/Linux.


    Come on Blaze, that's no fun! It is our job as Tom's Hardware comment posters to denigrate (preferably in a mindless way) all the Apples, AMDs, Nvidias, Intel's, and especially Microsoft's of the world for no particular reason other than to get out our techie frustrations. */sarcasm*
  • 0 Hide
    s3anister , June 16, 2012 9:30 AM
    blazorthonThat's enough with the mindless Windows 8 bashing. Windows 8 is better than its predecessors in every way as an OS. Windows 8 is faster, stable, and will have supreme driver support once it releases. Metro is the only problem and even that can be easily solved by installing Classic Shell (even the RC and the full versions still and will still allow this, although the registry hacks and such don't work anymore). Should we have to do this if we don't want Metro? No, we should not. However, mocking the OS for the wrong reasons, even if it does have a problem, is wrong. Excluding Metro, Windows 8 is better than 7 in every practical way. It is faster, lighter, and still has high stability and driver support compared to other operating systems when MS released them. If you don't like it, then you could at least mock it for the problem that it does have, Metro, or just ignore it and stick with XP/7 or OSX/Linux.


    Windows 8 is better than its predecessors in every way as an OS, with the exception of the Metro GUI.

    FTFY.
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 16, 2012 3:26 PM
    waethornActually, when Vista came out, I never had any problems with it. People said it was slow, but I never found it slower than XP, and they said it was annoying, yet it follows the security practises of any current OS, except that Vista only allows admins to install software, which is the way it should be IMO (users should NOT be allowed to install software into their own profile folder). Not only that, but the deployment of Vista is so much easier and more efficient than XP/2000. The deployment tools are awesome, and the way that Microsoft configured the install is by setting up the folder structure and just backing up a hard drive into a compressed file - the same way any IT person will clone a PC. This is why Vista/7/8 all install in under 15 minutes flat. It just extracts a pre-installed image from the disc.Likewise, when ME came out, I jumped on it right away. I found audio was far more efficient in ME because my sound card vendor actually produced proper WDM drivers for it. Gaming framerates improved....because of audio. Also, using ANYTHING with 1394 (USB 2.0 wasn't out yet) connections meant that it ran like crap if you were using 98, since 98 didn't support OHCI 1394 out of the box. ME had support included, so you just popped a 1394 card in, booted up Windows ME and it loaded the drivers automatically. Plug a 1394 hard drive in, and you're laughing. I had a 1394 hard drive, a DVD burner, and a camcorder at the time and did digital video editing on the machine. It was usable with ME. Not so with 98SE.


    I had horrible stability, performance, and driver issues with Vista when it was new. It was far slower than XP, crashed even more often, and couldn't work with a large portion of my hardware (poor printer). I had no problem with its extra security features such as UAC and I appreciated them, unlike other people who bashed it just because they were too lazy to be more proactive in protecting their computer from security threats. Now ME, I also had... I did not have much trouble with it either. Vista, however, was much worse. 7 solved most of the problems, but that printer still only worked with my older XP laptop up until it broke down. I did not like any of the 98s and I skipped them... I went strait from 95 to ME and 2000 on a few machines.

    Also, a lesson learned. Just because a computer has a sticker that says Windows Vista Ready does not mean that it is ready for Windows Vista. The stickers were lies and did not change how Vista did not like 1GB of RAM and hated a mere 512MB.

    Once Vista matured a little and after 7 had launched, Vista, as an OS, seemed much more stable and driver support problems were almost completely a thing of the past. It was also a little faster, although it is still probably MS's heaviest consumer OS ever. With SP2, it really is a decent OS, albeit still very heavy on resource usage. As you get newer and faster hardware, differences in performance between OSs get less noticeable, so the only serious issue that I'd still have with it is its obnoxiously large RAM usage.
  • -1 Hide
    ProDigit10 , June 17, 2012 5:23 AM
    Quote:
    Microsoft also envisions this technology will run semi-autonomously

    Another invention of cr@pposoft!
    Downloading of corrupt or missing files is done already for a long time in many other operating systems.
    The only thing I don't like is when the operating system will wildly start scanning the drive, emptying precious battery life, for nothing!

    In general, a file usually gets corrupted in a 2 to 4 years span.
    I bet MS will scan every day (or every week) for corrupt files, just like anti viruses used to request a scan every x-days (even when on average a user only has a virus between 3 months to 2 years).
  • 0 Hide
    blazorthon , June 17, 2012 5:28 AM
    ProDigit10Another invention of cr@pposoft!Downloading of corrupt or missing files is done already for a long time in many other operating systems.The only thing I don't like is when the operating system will wildly start scanning the drive, emptying precious battery life, for nothing!In general, a file usually gets corrupted in a 2 to 4 years span. I bet MS will scan every day (or every week) for corrupt files, just like anti viruses used to request a scan every x-days (even when on average a user only has a virus between 3 months to 2 years).


    Quote:
    Microsoft also envisions this technology will run semi-autonomously. While a user can initiate a "corruption scan," the OS can also initiate the repair service by itself when an error message is received from the software updating service that could, for example, include a malware warning. A successful repair would also run automatically and check "whether all of the corrupt software components have been updated." Based on the success or failure of the update, additional file replacements can take place, if needed.


    Article clearly states that it would only run when an error is caused by corrupt system files or when a user manually starts a scan, not that it would "wildly scan" for them.