Microsoft releases five critical updates

August patch updatesMicrosoft continued a trend of fewer updates than we are used to with only 9 bulletins (5 critical and 4 important) released this month. It stands to reason that Microsoft may have kept things simple so as not to over shadow the release of their Windows 10 Anniversary update.

As far as the new patches go, there are some typical remote code execution browser exploits for Internet Explorer and Edge. In both cases, the user running the browser needs to have administrative rights and in business environments I strongly recommend avoiding end user admin rights at all costs. The benefit is worth any inconvenience it may cause.

The other critical updates relating to the graphics library and PDF viewer which was released in Windows 8 should be installed and they appear to be low risk.

An interesting update in the bunch was MS16-103 which is a patch for something called “Universal Outlook.” This is special version of Outlook designed to run in tablet mode. The only time we’ve seen anyone use that is by getting into it by accident. Given it has a bug and there is no companion update for ‘regular’ Outlook, I would be concerned that Microsoft is using a different codebase for the Universal application.

As far as Windows 10 Anniversary update, the early reports are not good with several accounts of lockups and slowdown. Many of these appear to relate to software that is incompatible with the update. We saw with last year’s Windows 10 upgrade that the process would simply uninstall certain software that was not compatible. So perhaps Microsoft was trying to play a bit nicer with Windows 10 and security software, but it may have bitten them in the end.

In general, if you have a gaming PC that you use with your Xbox, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a great update for you. Any business users, I would take caution, and as always, test the update on spare machines as much as possible.


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