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Patch Tuesday brings record harvest of security fixes

Run Windows? Notice a little icon toward the bottom right of the screen that wasn't there last night? Please don't ignore it. That icon is your cue to take part in the monthly Microsoft ritual called Patch Tuesday.

windows_update_notification.PNG

For this month, Microsoft shipped a set of 16 patches that close a record 49 vulnerabilities in such software as Internet Explorer, Word and Windows Media Player.

Many of these holes allow a remote takeover of your computer, in some cases after you do nothing wrong beside visit the wrong Web page. One such opening has frequently been exploited by the Stuxnet worm that's been running around the world.

Your computer should at least download, if not download and install, these updates for you. But if not, don't reject Windows' attempt to help you out. Click that icon, look over the resulting list of security updates, and install them.

Unfortunately, you may see a non-security update listed there. A review Windows 7 netbook had an extra download waiting, labeled "Office Genuine Advantage Notifications." Like the earlier "Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications" installer pushed out as a Microosft automatic update a few years ago, this doesn't do anything but try to verify that you paid for your copy of a Microsoft program. You can opt out of that if you want.

I hope all of you don't need this post because you already installed this month's patches -- and can instead report back in the comments about how the update went. But if not: Why aren't you keeping up with Windows security fixes?

By Rob Pegoraro  | October 12, 2010; 6:17 PM ET
Categories:  Security, Windows  
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Comments

Records were made to be broken...

Of course, some of us have to wait for our Borg Drone corporate IT types to push out fixes for our office PCs.

I did not see any mention in your earlier posts about the updates to Adobe Acrobat/Reader (v9.4) and Flash Player (v10.1.85.3) released a week or so ago.

Nice to see you still keep track of your former Post colleague Mr. Krebs. He also mentioned a new Java Runtime update, probably after your column went to press.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | October 12, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Records were made to be broken...

Of course, some of us have to wait for our Borg Drone corporate IT types to push out fixes for our office PCs.

I did not see any mention in your earlier posts about the updates to Adobe Acrobat/Reader (v9.4) and Flash Player (v10.1.85.3) released a week or so ago.

Nice to see you still keep track of your former Post colleague Mr. Krebs. He also mentioned a new Java Runtime update, probably after your column went to press.

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | October 12, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

What is the turnaround time for updates being made available? I had an update this morning but it was just Windows Defender. So far no mega patch that would trigger a reboot.

Posted by: slar | October 12, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Remember Apple's Security Update 2010-002 from March that patched a record 92 vulnerabilities? No? Oh yeah, because the security sarcasm is reserved for Windows. I remember though because 9 of those were rated critical affecting the security cesspool that is QuickTime on my Mac.

Posted by: scarper86 | October 13, 2010 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Ugh, when I saw the list last night my eyes rolled. When I see so many patches I can't help but wonder if a few will be stepping on each other's toes at installation. I guess today will be the day to install?

Posted by: tbva | October 13, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

@slar
Sometimes it takes a couple of days. You can always go to the Windows Update site directly.

Posted by: koalatek | October 13, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Patched and all seems well. I installed 14 of them.

Posted by: tbva | October 13, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@star If using WinXP, simply disable Windows Update and click Apply, and then re-enable Windows Update with whatever your preferred update settings are and then click apply. WinXP will rather shortly and dutifully check for all new Windows updates.

With Win7, simply click on Check for Updates after clicking on Windows Update in Win7's Control Panel.

Posted by: DaffyDuck1 | October 13, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Last night my Vista machine rebooted; examination of the event log showed that it was a result of the Windows Update. Thing is, I've never had automatic updates set -- I always have it set to download-and-notify. Anyone else have their system mysteriously change its Windows Update setting?

Posted by: reader178 | October 14, 2010 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Loaded them all. No problem. Never is, I know some people always have problems. They probably need help to turn on the computer.

Posted by: egypt4 | October 14, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Loaded them all. No problem. Never is, I know some people always have problems. They probably need help to turn on the computer.

Posted by: egypt4 | October 14, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Loaded them all. No problem. Never is, I know some people always have problems. They probably need help to turn on the computer.

Posted by: egypt4 | October 14, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

OMG that was FUNny, egypt4!


.

(you were going for sarcasm, I hope?)

Posted by: lquarton | October 14, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

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