Friday, 05 December 2008 01:41

Microsoft stuffs sysadmins' stockings with critical patches

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System administrators look like having a busy time in the run-up to Christmas as they digest and test the eight security bulletins that Microsoft expects to release next Tuesday. Six of the bulletins are rated critical.

Microsoft routinely provides advance notification of its plans for Patch Tuesday, the monthly release of security patches. December will see a wide-ranging collection of bulletins addressing issues with many of Microsoft's flagship products.

Critical patches for the company's operating systems affect Windows 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista and Server 2008 (including Server Core installations).

Microsoft has warned that the two bulletins affecting Windows have maximum security ratings of critical, and applying the patches will require a restart.

Another critical issue affects Internet Explorer versions 5, 6 and 7, though the problem is only considered moderate for IE 6 on Windows Server 2003.

The Windows Media code is also due for an update, with an important bulletin covering Windows Media Player 6.4; Windows Media Format Runtime 7.1, 9.0, 9.5 and 11; and Windows Media Services 4.1 and 9.

Multiple bulletins affect Microsoft Office components and related software.

Please read on for more details.


A critical Visual Basic patch applies to FrontPage 2002 and Project 2003 and 2007, plus Visual Basic 6.0, VB .NET 2002, and Visual FoxPro 8.0 and 9.0.

Word and Excel both have issues ranging from important to critical, and patches are scheduled for the Office 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007 versions.

Associated programs also covered by these bulletins are Outlook 2007; the Open XML File Format Converter for Mac; Works 8.5; Excel Viewer (including the 2003 version); Word Viewer 2003; and Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats.

An important bulletin is planned for SharePoint Server 2007 and Search Server 2008.

The regular monthly updates to the Malicious Software Removal Tool and the Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter also planned.

Microsoft has also scheduled a daylight saving time revision for XP, Server 2003, Vista and Server 2008, as well as an application compatibility update for Vista and Server 2008.

The above bulletins are scheduled for release on December 9 at around 10am, US PST.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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