Microsoft Patch Day Hits A Few Bumps

Microsoft’s monthly patch day was a little rougher than usual today, as the company’s patch servers hiccupped, leaving Microsoft  scrambling for a fix.

This affects all Microsoft servers, such as Microsoft Update and Windows Update, which are user-initiated, and Automatic Updates, which performs the download without user prompting.

“Technical teams are engaged and have been working around the clock to resolve this problem and we anticipate that updates will be made available via the Microsoft Update platform by end of day,” Microsoft said in a statement.

“We will post an update when the situation has been resolved and the updates are again available via this distribution channel.”

The problems are detailed on the MSRC Blog, which is where Microsoft will also post notice that the patches are available for download.

With this security update cycle, Microsoft released 10 security bulletins covering 26 fixes.

It includes four “critical” fixes for Microsoft Office and one “critical” fix for Windows. Critical fixes are considered the most severe and highest risk. Other fixes are rated low to moderate in severity.

Microsoft is once again urging customers to migrate to Windows XP Service Pack 2 with Advanced Security Technologies if they have not done so already. Aside from the new security enhancements in the service pack, Windows XP Service Pack 1 support will end next week.

In addition to the security fixes, Microsoft has updated its Malicious Software Removal Tool to add support for three new nasty bits of malware, Win32/Tibs, Win32/Harnig and Win32/Passalert.

Microsoft also announced it will officially release Internet Explorer 7 this month. It will be distributed via Windows Update and the Automatic Update tool. Because of this, Microsoft is offering the Internet Explorer 7 Blocker Toolkit to enterprise customers who don’t want it installed on their computers.

IT managers who want IE 7 blocked must have it installed by Nov. 1. The blocker is available via TechNet.

Microsoft did something similar before, offering a blocker when it released Windows XP Service Pack 2. Greg DeMichillie of Directions on Microsoft thinks there needs to be a little more versatility in Automatic Update.

“The problem is Auto Update has two constituencies. For consumers, it’s letting Microsoft be your IT person, making sure you get every update and stay up-to-date,” DeMichillie said. “But I think there needs to be a third version, between install everything or install nothing, where it gives fixes for installed stuff but don’t give me new programs.”

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