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'Critical' Windows Fixes Expected on Patch Tuesday

Microsoft is forecasting a rare Patch Tuesday next week, with all of the September security bulletins expected to be deemed "critical."

In its advanced notification, Redmond said that all five fixes to come would address remote code execution (RCE) exploits in its Windows operating systems.

The first critical patch will affect every supported Windows OS. The second patch only touches Vista and Windows Server 2008. Critical item No. 3 would fix every supported Windows OS and the fourth item includes every Windows OS with the exception of XP. Patch No. 5 will be aimed to shore up RCE exploits in Windows 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft's advanced notifications seldom spell out the exact components to be fixed. Possibly, Redmond intends to patch Windows components such as the recently troublesome Active Template Library or Graphic Device Interface. Clearly, Microsoft will be plugging some holes in Windows, both client and server.

"As we take a look at the summary numbers, all three of Microsoft's server platforms (2000, 2003 and 2008) have critical vulnerabilities," said Don Leatham, senior director of solutions and strategy at Lumension." Therefore, both server and desktop management IT groups will be impacted this month."

All of the fixes on this month's slate may require restarts.

Leatham pointed out that the Vista fixes will lead the pack this month, affected by four of the five patches. It implies that Microsoft's newer OSes will get patched this month too because they utilize the Vista code base.

"This brings up an interesting situation as Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 were released to manufacturing (RTM) early last month," Leatham said. "This means many Microsoft partners and corporate customers will have started using and evaluating these two new platforms. And given the significant amount of code shared between Vista and Windows 7, it is likely that some of these security bulletins could apply to Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2."

About the Author

Jabulani Leffall is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times of London, Investor's Business Daily, The Economist and CFO Magazine, among others.

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