According to various news reports, Microsoft has dropped four security updates from tomorrow's scheduled round of patches, known among Microsoft-watchers as Patch Tuesday because it occurs on the second Tuesday of each month.
In advance of each round of updates, Microsoft offers a notice on its Web site so I.T. professionals, for whom updating and patching systems has evolved into a full-time affair, can plan accordingly.
But Microsoft typically does not say what problems those updates will fix, merely naming the products -- such as Windows or Office -- that the updates address.
Then There Were Four
Altogether, eight security updates were initially planned. Now, according to its Web site, Microsoft will release four. Only one of those updates will deal with Windows. That update is rated "critical," the most severe rating Microsoft gives to a software patch. It will require a system restart.
The rest of Tuesday's patches deal with Office. Microsoft also rates these updates "critical," meaning they patch flaws that, if exploited, could bring substantial harm to end users' machines and corporate networks. Often such updates are designed to prevent virus attacks and worms from spreading.
Microsoft also plans to update the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool through Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and Microsoft's Download Center, but not through Microsoft's Software Update Services. Microsoft offered no reason for the exclusion of this last service.
Microsoft also gave no reason for dropping four of tomorrow's planned updates, but it is likely that Redmond is delaying them to ensure they work properly.
Because updates can alter key components of Windows, Office, and other software, pains are taken to ensure that each update stops old problems instead of starting new ones.
In addition to the other patches, Microsoft will release two updates that are not related to security. It lists both as high-priority updates but, as with other announced patches, the company did not specify the features or precise systems these updates will affect.