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Microsoft releases critical Windows updates

Five of the updates affect Windows Vista

It's Patch Tuesday, Microsoft's traditional monthly update release day. And to celebrate the last one of the year, Microsoft has delivered seven patches including three that are classed as critical. That's the maximum severity rating for the discovered problems, so it's hardly great news for Microsoft that more gaping gaps have been found.

The critical updates affect the DirectX graphics platform and Windows Media as well as Internet Explorer version 6 and 7.

The fixes have already dripped down to one of our XP machines on restart but strangely haven't made it on to our Vista box - yet five of the patches affect Microsoft's newer OS. All the critical updates patch security holes that could allow remote code execution including via web-based email services.

The other non-critical Windows updates are rated as 'important'. For more information, check out Microsoft TechNet.