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Bumper crop of Microsoft patches on the way

Expect a busy "Patch Tuesday" next week, with a dozen security bulletins covering flaws in Windows, Office and Exchange.

Microsoft customers should brace for an onslaught of security updates.

As part of a monthly patching cycle, the software maker plans to release on Tuesday a dozen security bulletins with fixes for flaws. Nine of the bulletins address problems in Windows, two relate to Office and one to the Exchange e-mail server software.

At least one of the Windows and one of the Office alerts is deemed "critical," Microsoft's highest risk rating, the company said in a notice posted on its Web site Thursday.

Additionally, the June patches will permanently alter the way Internet Explorer handles Web programs called ActiveX controls. Microsoft introduced the change, which may affect how certain Web sites are displayed in the browser, two months ago. It gave Web developers a "compatibility patch" to give them time to adjust to the new process, but the June security updates will end that respite, Microsoft said.

Microsoft did not specify how many flaws its security updates will tackle, or say which components of Windows, Office and Exchange are being repaired. It has said that it plans to release a fix for a vulnerability in Word that has been exploited in at least one targeted cyberattack.

Over the past weeks, security researchers have reported several unpatched flaws in Internet Explorer, the Web browser component of Windows.

Last month, Microsoft released three security bulletins, two of which addressed issues in Windows and Exchange. Another was for a problem in Adobe Systems' Macromedia Flash software.

Also on Tuesday, Microsoft will release an updated version of its Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. The software detects and removes common malicious code placed on computers.

The company gave no further information on the upcoming bulletins, other than stating that the fixes may require restarting the computer or server.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker offers advance notification about patches so people can get ready to install the updates.

Microsoft said it will host a Webcast about the new fixes on Wednesday at 11 a.m. PT.