Next week's Patch Tuesday could prove to be a real headache for sysadmins, with Microsoft planning to release a whopping thirteen patches to fix twenty-six bugs across Windows and Office products.

As reported over on ARN, this month's Patch Tuesday rollout will come with thirteen fixes for flaws in Microsoft's Windows and Office products, with five of those for vulnerabilities the company counts as "Critical" on its tiered scoring system. A further eight of the updates are rated "Important," the next level down in the scoring system.

The vast majority of the updates - eleven, to be precise - are aimed at fixing issues with Microsoft's Windows operating system, with just two looking to fix problems in Office XP and Office 2003 for Windows and Office 2004 for Mac OS.

Interestingly, five of the updates affect the company's latest iteration of the Windows platform - the consumer Windows 7 and the server-side Windows Server 2008 R2 - despite claims from Microsoft that its latest versions are the most secure yet.

Such claims are given meat, however, by the news that Windows XP users will have to apply an additional three updates - for a total of eight - in order to ensure they are fully protected. Any users still running Windows 2000 will need nine of the eleven Windows updates.

Interestingly, at least one of the patches is treated differently between Windows Vista and Windows 7, despite their shared code base: the "Bulletin 1" patch is rated as Critical importance for Windows XP, downrated to Important for Windows Vista, but returns to Critical for Windows 7 - despite Windows 7 having far more in common code-wise with Vista than XP.

A full list of the issues resolved by this latest round of patches can be found on the Microsoft Security Response Center blog.

Are you worried about the headaches a bumper thirteen-patch month might cause, or are you just pleased to see some of the more egregious security flaws in Windows getting patched at last? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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