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Security

Critical Windows patch on the way

Microsoft's monthly batch of fixes will tackle important flaws in Windows, Office and other applications.

Microsoft will provide a variety of patches, some of them critical, when it delivers its monthly batch of security updates next Tuesday.

In a notice posted to its Web site Thursday, Microsoft said to expect critical fixes for Windows, Office, MSN Messenger and Exchange. In all, the software maker said it is planning to release eight patches, five of them for Windows.

In addition, Microsoft will release a new version of its malicious software removal tool, which is a sort of basic antiviral software that removes specific known bugs from a machine. The company said it will have two high-priority Windows upgrades that are not related to security issues that will be made available via its automatic Windows Update service.

The software maker had no regularly scheduled security patches last month, after releasing a dozen updates in February. That month, the company also fixed a security hole in its the digital rights technology within Windows Media Player.

In an effort to help businesses manage the company's security patches, Microsoft has gone to a once-a-month schedule for most fixes. More recently, the company has begun publicly outlining what patches to expect just prior to releasing the patches themselves.