A couple of years ago, when I started leaving my computer on all the time, I noticed that my computer would be turned off in the morning. Since I knew I hadn’t turned it off, I turned to the most likely culprit. I asked Chris why he had turned off my machine without letting me know so that I could save all of my stuff first!
That’s when he told me about Patch Tuesday. Microsoft has been sending out monthly updates, generally on the second Tuesday of each month, for a long time. They formalized this process in October 2003. According to this article:
“Microsoft has a pattern of releasing a larger number of updates in even-numbered months, and fewer in odd-numbered months. Minor updates are also released outside Patch Tuesday. Daily updates consist of malware database refreshes for Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Sometimes there is an extraordinary Patch Tuesday, two weeks after the regular Patch Tuesday. Some updates could be released at any time.”
Although Microsoft has changed the name to “Update Tuesday”, the new name hasn’t gained wide acceptance in technical communities. The patches generally include code to update your Operating System to fix known bugs and to plug up any vulnerabilities from malware.
Most people notice a “Patch Wednesday” more than Patch Tuesday. Since the updates are generally installed overnight, you might be prompted to turn off your machine on Wednesday morning to finish the installation. And, occasionally you’ll experience glitches with your machine on Wednesday.
Patch Wednesday is also called “Crash Wednesday” since your computer is more likely to crash after the Patch Tuesday updates have been installed. We frequently hear from customers on “Patch Wednesday” who tell us that all of a sudden they can’t print, or their internet isn’t working. Lots of times the fix is as easy as turning off the machine and turning it back on again. But sometimes they need us to reinstall drivers or re-configure their router.
It’s also been called “Exploit Wednesday” since there have been times when the Microsoft patches have left machines more vulnerable to malware. In fact, a recent blog by UK engineer “Zeros & Ones” is a bit of a rant about the whole Patch Tuesday process.
“Security is not ‘my bag’ as such – but the people at Microsoft seem to be in a fantastic situation where security issues only arise on Tuesdays. How do they do they seem to manage to get the ‘bad man’ on side?”
If you’re interested in all the patches over the past ten years, check out this website, or this one for the past five years.
What do you think about Patch Tuesday? Share in the comments below!
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Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PCs for the past eighteen years. Angie’s List and the BBB rate Geek For Hire very highly. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3 support) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.
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