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Microsoft plans to issue four "critical" security bulletins next week that address vulnerabilities in Windows Mail, Internet Explorer and Windows XP.
Six bulletins in total, including the four critical fixes, will be released, according to Microsoft's advance advisory notification.
"Critical" is the most severe ranking Microsoft assigns to security flaws. That classification typically indicates a system can be compromised remotely with little interaction required by the user.
Microsoft To Issue Four "Critical" Security Bulletins Next Week [software.silicon.com]
You have a good image backup in place?
Even after that nice backup thread in the Supporters Area (PC & Unix software), not yet. :(
Make sure you have that or a System Restore Point in place before a big update like this.
Slightly offtopic, but maybe not, as this is probably a common concern with these updates... yes, I always create System Restore Points before any big change, and I was once saved by Restore after some Symantec weirdness.
That said, I'm not exactly sure what Restore does, specifically when it comes to MS Security Updates....
As I understand it, if you go back to a Restore Point, you won't lose any data created after that Restore Point. I'm assuming, by the same token, that if you delete a file, System Restore is not going to bring it back. So, how does that work with a Security Update which, say, deletes a driver or screws up one of your non-Microsoft programs?
I know it's been suggested that I make manual choices in what Security Updates I install, but I don't, in fact, have a clue what a lot of this stuff is, and chances are I'd be better off with automatic choices (except that I'm still staying with IE6).
Maybe we should start another thread about coping with Security Updates, or we can discuss it here... but everyone's asking whether the Update caused any problems, and that's what I've got on my mind every time they announce one of these.
I'm not exactly sure what Restore does
From the Frequently Asked Questions Regarding System Restore in Windows XP [microsoft.com]
Q. What is System Restore?
A. The System Restore feature of Microsoft Windows XP enables administrators to restore their computers to a previous state without losing personal data files (e.g. Word documents, graphic files, e-mail). System Restore actively monitors system file changes and some application file changes to record or store previous versions before the changes occurred. Users never have to think about taking system snapshots as System Restore automatically creates easily identifiable restore points, which the users can use to revert to a previous time. Restore points are created at the time of significant system events (such as application or driver install) and periodically (each day).
Q. How is System Restore different from Backup?
A. System Restore monitors only a core set of specified system and application file types (e.g. .exe, .dll etc), while Backup Utility typically backs up all files including users personal data files, ensuring a safe copy stored either on the local disk or to another medium. System Restore does not monitor changes to or recover users' personal data files such as documents, graphics, e-mail, and so on. While system data contained in System Restore's restore points are available to restore to for only a limited period (restore points older than 90 days are deleted by default), backups made by the Backup Utility can be recovered at any time.
System Restore is sufficient in most cases, but it is not a true reversion to the previous state of your machine. Read through the FAQ to learn more.
Threads like this are great for tracking whether others have had problems with updates. If you prefer to be on the cautious side you can always wait a few days before applying a patch. If there are major issues people will post about it here or elsewhere. I have my image backups to revert to so I don't mind playing guinea-pig with my machines sometimes.