Patch Tuesday March 2011

It’s that time of month again – time to update your computer, that is.

What does Microsoft have for Patch Tuesday March 2011?

Compared to some of the last few patches, this month’s release of fixes by Microsoft is fairly small. Just 3-4 updates for XP with a few more in Windows 7. For those running Windows 7 there may be an extra surprise in the updates this month.

Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 was also released this month.

Window Update
This is what Window Update looks like in the start menu

I have not done the Service Pack 1 upgrade yet on Windows 7. I have heard of a few problems with the upgrade. These problems seem to include newer systems too. You may want to wait a few weeks before you run the Windows 7 Service Pack 1 upgrade. If you do all the other Windows updates your computer will be just as safe. I’ll be running Service Pack 1 in the next few days and will have a post to let you know if I have any problems. Again, you will be just fine waiting a few weeks or maybe a month before you upgrade as long as you do the other updates.

Some other Microsoft Updates that have come out recently may change some of the behavior of your computer.

Microsoft during the last month has made a previous optional update, a critical update.

This means that if your computer is set to do automatic updates it will be installed. The particular patch this happened to prevents programs on a USB drive from automatically starting when the USB drive is inserted into the computer.

This is done to help prevent the spread of fairly new type of malware that spreads via USB drives. One type of this malware, called Stuxnet, is reportedly responsible for severely damaging the Iranian attempt to build a nuclear reactor. When an infected USB drive is connected the malware would be automatically installed and then hide the evidence it was ever on the drive or installed instantly. Stopping the auto-start feature for USB drives will help prevent this. Panda Anti-Virus has been doing this as part of it’s anti-virus protection for some time already.

This update does not affect the auto-start of DVD and CD media. You can find out how to update Windows XP manually here.

Over the past month, Adobe has also released updates.

Adobe Reader X
Adobe Reader X

Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash both have updates and it would not hurt to double check to make sure you have the latest of these on your computer. You can find out how to update Adobe Reader here. You can find out how to update Adobe Flash here (go to Adobe.com using Internet Explorer).

There have been Java updates recently.

You may want to check if Java has been updated fully on your computer. If you still have that little orange box in your notification area (lower right corner) either click it and update or go to Java in your control panel and update. You can find out how to update Java here.

It’s always a good idea to check and make sure all your software is updated once in a while. Why not take a couple minutes and check on Patch Tuesday once a month.