Frequently Asked Question: GDR vs. QFE

Windows XP Professional Update Pack discussion.
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dumpydooby
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Frequently Asked Question: GDR vs. QFE

Post by dumpydooby » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:16 pm

This seems to be brought up quite a bit around here, so I'm starting this thread with hopes that anyone who searches for either term will see this and have their question answered right away.

Any of the gurus here are welcome to correct me if I'm wrong on any points. I don't claim to be an authority on the matter, especially since I have never created an UpdatePack (I only create AddonPacks).


First, here's Microsoft's very verbose explanation: http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb%3 ... &x=13&y=13


GDR updates are what you get from Windows Update or Microsoft Update. The GDR branch is more conservative in its patches. QFE branch, however, is what is used for Service Packs. The QFE branch doesn't have as extensive testing as the GDR branch (QFE is distributed to hundreds of thousands, whereas GDR goes out to millions), but it is updated more frequently.

QFE updates often include GDR updates in their patches, since they address more issues than GDR. That is to say that QFE will, in general, subsume GDR.

It's important to note that there is no formal graduation process. QFE should not be viewed as a GDR "trunk" (containing nightlies, betas, alphas, or whatever). They are two distinguished branches. If anything, you can think of QFE as a work-in-progress branch for future Service Packs (though that's not necessarily correct either, since no future Service Packs are planned for Windows XP).


Final summation:

If you want only updates that have undergone extensive testing: GDR

If you prefer to have the latest updates, knowing that there might be possible conflicts: QFE

I will use either branch, depending on how I intend to use my unattended installation. If I'm not administering the system, then I'll go with GDR. If I am the administrator, then I'll go with QFE.

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dumpydooby
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Post by dumpydooby » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:29 pm

Also, here is what some notable UpdatePack makers use:

QFE
user_hidden
OnePiece
Ricktendo64
code65536 (retired from making UpdatePacks)
RyanVM (tentatively retired)


GDR
redxii
Xable


(Hopefully I got all of those right. I apologize in advance if I'm wrong on any of those.)
Last edited by dumpydooby on Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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5eraph
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Post by 5eraph » Mon Sep 14, 2009 2:50 pm

Mostly correct. The only nitpick I have is that the QFE branch always includes previous GDR updates to the affected files. I always use QFE for my XP x64 update pack and IE8 x64 addon as well.

Has ricktendo64 really retired? I tried to verify on WinCert, but I get a 403 Forbidden error whenever I try to access their forums. I realize I've been away for a couple months and haven't been able to really research much of what has happened in my absence.

Likewise, has code65536 retired again recently, or are you referring to his update addon to Ryan's older SP2 update pack? I'll admit that I haven't seen him around lately to update his DirectX or Notepad2 switchless installers.

I'm not retired. I'm just waiting until I can finish rebuilding what I need to continue work. :P

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ricktendo64
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Post by ricktendo64 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:01 pm

By no means am I retired, I update my Spanish updatepack every month, just dont publitsh it here cuz its nLite only

http://www.ricktendo.com/

BTW yea I also prefer QFE and I use every/all the hotfixes I can get my hands on :P http://www.ricktendo.com/forum/viewtopi ... =3&start=0

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dumpydooby
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Post by dumpydooby » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:18 pm

5eraph wrote:Mostly correct. The only nitpick I have is that the QFE branch always includes previous GDR updates to the affected files. I always use QFE for my XP x64 update pack and IE8 x64 addon as well.

Has ricktendo64 really retired? I tried to verify on WinCert, but I get a 403 Forbidden error whenever I try to access their forums. I realize I've been away for a couple months and haven't been able to really research much of what has happened in my absence.

Likewise, has code65536 retired again recently, or are you referring to his update addon to Ryan's older SP2 update pack? I'll admit that I haven't seen him around lately to update his DirectX or Notepad2 switchless installers.

I'm not retired. I'm just waiting until I can finish rebuilding what I need to continue work. :P
I only meant retired from making UpdatePacks. Both Ricktendo64 and code65536 had their UpdatePack threads locked (well, code65536 was making an AddonUpdatePack or whatever that supplemented RyanVM's pack), so I assumed that meant they were both retired from making UpdatePacks. As it turns out, Ricktendo64 is still making es-US (I'm assuming) UpdatePacks and only retired from making en-US UpdatePacks.


Theoretically, it seems like the latest QFE will not necessarily include the latest GDR. It's possible that the GDR branch will address an issue before the QFE branch gets it. I could be wrong (feel free to let me know if I am), but that was the basis for me saying that "QFE often include GDR updates."

ricktendo64 wrote:By no means am I retired, I update my Spanish updatepack every month, just dont publitsh it here cuz its nLite only

http://www.ricktendo.com/

BTW yea I also prefer QFE and I use every/all the hotfixes I can get my hands on :P http://www.ricktendo.com/forum/viewtopi ... =3&start=0
I couldn't access WinCert earlier to see if you post your UpdatePacks there. Admittedly, I was only looking for en-US. :oops:

I'll edit my post right now.

Martin H
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Post by Martin H » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:52 pm

dumpydooby wrote: Theoretically, it seems like the latest QFE will not necessarily include the latest GDR. It's possible that the GDR branch will address an issue before the QFE branch gets it. I could be wrong (feel free to let me know if I am), but that was the basis for me saying that "QFE often include GDR updates."
The QFE branch is cumulative and will by nature always include the GDR fixes...

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