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Microsoft: 'Patch Tuesday' updates on the way

Customers should expect regular bulletin next week, even though a fix for a Windows flaw will be rushed out.

Although Microsoft plans to release its first security update of the year early, Patch Tuesday is still on.

The software maker said Thursday it will deliver two updates on Tuesday, Jan. 10, as part of its scheduled monthly bulletin of security patches.

In response to customer pressure, the software maker on Thursday delivered a fix for a Windows flaw that lies in the way Windows renders Windows Meta File images. The flaw that has become a conduit for several attacks.

Microsoft said previously that it would wait until its regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday to issue the fix that repairs the WMF problem. But, it says, the new, earlier release does not mean Patch Tuesday is now off the calendar, the company noted.

Next week, Microsoft plans to provide two additional security updates: one for Windows, and one for Microsoft Office and e-mail server software Exchange, the company said in a notice on its Web site.

Both updates will fix at least one flaw that the software maker deems critical, according to the notice. Microsoft rates as critical any security threat that could allow a malicious Internet worm to spread without any action required on the part of the user.

Microsoft's notice did not specify which components of Windows are being repaired with Tuesday's update or how many vulnerabilities the fix will tackle. The company did say that both patches may require a restart of the software.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft offers advance notification about fixes so people can get ready to install them. As part of the monthly patch day, Microsoft also plans to release a revamped version of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool. The software detects and removes common malicious code placed on computers.

Microsoft plans to hold a special Webcast on Friday to provide details on the fix for the WMF issue. Another Webcast is planned for Wednesday at 11.00 a.m. PT to discuss the regularly scheduled updates.