Microsoft To Release 4 Critical Office Patches Tuesday

In today's March Patch Tuesday preview, Microsoft announced that it will be releasing four patches, all rated critical because they allow remote-code execution, and all involving Microsoft Office in some way.

As is typical with its preview announcements, the company didn't release details on the exact flaws the patches will fix, but did detail the systems affected.

The first patch is for Excel and is rated critical -- Microsoft's highest rating -- for Excel 2000 SP3. However, it is rated only as important for other versions of Excel, including Excel 2003 (although the SP3 of 2003 is not affected) and Excel 2007, as well as Office 2004 and 2008 for Mac.

The second patch is critical for the following versions of Outlook: Outlook 2000 SP3, Outlook 2002 SP3, Outlook 2003 SP2 and SP3, and Outlook 2007.

The third patch is critical only for Microsoft Office 2000 SP3. The patch is rated important for several other programs, including Office XP SP3 and Office for Mac 2004.

The final patch planned for this month's batch is rated critical for Microsoft Office Web Components 2000. According to Microsoft, updates have already been released to fix the flaw (whatever it might be) in several Microsoft products, including Visual Studio .NET, BizTalk Server, Office 2000 and XP.

Microsoft is also planning to release three "high-priority, nonsecurity updates" through Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) and Windows Update.

As always, Microsoft cautioned that the information released today is preliminary and may change before the official release Tuesday.

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Becky Nagel is a contributor to Application Development Trends. She is the editor of ADT's sister sites, and, and is co-editor of You can contact her at [email protected].