Mozilla released Firefox v26 today, the latest version of their Firefox browser.
A number of fixes were made over v25, including a correction to image orientation (it now matches EXIF information), a fix for text rendering in Windows 8.1, page load improvement when images aren't visible, and more. You can see the complete list Firefox's v26.0 Bug Fixes page.
Some new features were included too, most notably an improvement to the way Java plug-ins are handled, all of which you can read about in the Firefox v26.0 Release Notes.
You can download Firefox v26 here, or just watch for the update notification next time you're using the browser.
Today is Patch Tuesday. December's patches consist of 11 updates that correct 24 unique security issues across Microsoft Windows operating systems and some other Microsoft software.
What Do These Security Updates Do?
These patches from Microsoft update several individual files involved in making Windows and other Microsoft software work.
Do I Need These Security Updates?
You need these updates if you're running any currently supported, 32-bit or 64-bit, Windows operating system: Windows 8 (including Windows 8.1), Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, plus Windows server versions and Windows RT & RT 8.1.
All supported versions of Microsoft Office are getting security updates this month too.
Several of Microsoft's business and enterprise products are receiving security related updates as well, including SharePoint Server (all versions), Office Web Apps 2013, Lync 2010 & 2013, ASP.NET SignalR, and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.
Nearly half of this month's updates fix problems so serious that if left unpatched, it's possible that someone could gain access to your computer in very specific situations. These issues are given a Critical severity rating. The remaining updates have the lesser rating of Important but should still be installed.
Are There Any Non-Security Updates This Month?
Yes, including a non-security update for Windows 7 and over a dozen for Windows 8 & 8.1. Also, as usual, Microsoft is pushing this month's update to the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
There may also be non-security updates included this month for Microsoft software other than Windows. See the Non-Security Updates links below for details.
Patch Tuesday Problems
This blog post has become Grand Central Station for Patch Tuesday problems each month. While updates from Microsoft rarely result in widespread problems with Windows itself, they do frequently cause specific issues with software or drivers provided by other companies.
Please see How To Prevent Windows Updates From Crashing Your PC for a number of preventative measures you should take before applying these updates, including disabling fully automatic updates.
If your computer freezes during the installation of an update, see How To Recover From a Frozen Windows Update Installation for help.
If the updates installed but you're now experiencing a problem, see How To Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates for advice on how to undo the damage.
See Windows Updates & Patch Tuesday FAQ for answers to other common questions, including "Does Microsoft test these updates before they push them out?" and "Why hasn't Microsoft fixed the problem that their update caused on my computer?!"
Automatically install: via Windows Update.
Manually install: via the individual Bulletin IDs listed in the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for December 2013. See Do I Have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows? if you're not sure which downloads to choose.
Next Patch Tuesday: will be January 14, 2014.
A Note on the Comments Below:
I update this blog post for each Patch Tuesday by Microsoft so some of the comments left may be for previous Patch Tuesdays. You can tell which Patch Tuesday a comment is referring to by looking at the notation at the end of the comment. For example, comments addressing Patch Tuesday December 2013 will end with [PT: December 2013].
This latest update to CCleaner improves the cleaning process with a number of browsers, adds cleaning support for a number of new programs, and much more. You can read about all changes in Piriform's Change Log, which you find here.
You can download CCleaner v4.08.4428 for free here.
NVIDIA has released GeForce drivers version 331.82. This release increases performance in several games, includes new game recording abilities, and more.
This is the final, WHQL version of these drivers and replaces the previously available v331.65 WHQL drivers. You should install v331.82 if you have a supported NVIDIA GPU running any previous driver release.
Important: If you have any previous beta version of this driver installed, please update to v331.82 as soon as possible. It's almost always a better idea to have the WHQL certified version of a driver installed.
Here are some of the new features, changes, and fixes available in v331.82 over previous releases:
- Improves the performance of several games across a number of NVIDIA GPUs.
- Updates SLI profiles for Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag and Natural Selection, and adds one for Path of Exile.
- Enables GeForce ShadowPlay, a game recording technology.
- NVIDIA PhysX is at v9.13.0725 and HD Audio is at v220.127.116.11 in this release. GeForce Experience is at v18.104.22.168.
For complete information on v331.82, see NVIDIA's Version 331.82 Release Notes for Windows 8.1/8/7/Vista here (desktop) and here (notebook), or the Version 331.82 Release Notes for Windows XP here. All links are to PDF files.
The following two downloads are for Desktop GPUs ONLY. These are the NVIDIA drivers you need if you have a video card with an NVIDIA ION/ION LE or GeForce GPU installed in your desktop computer.
These two downloads are for Notebook GPUs ONLY. These are the NVIDIA drivers you need if your laptop, netbook, notebook, or tablet is powered by an NVIDIA ION/ION LE or GeForce GPU.
Tip: Not sure if you should download the 32-bit or 64-bit driver? See Am I Running a 32-bit or 64-bit Version of Windows? for help. If you need even more assistance, head over to the GeForce Drivers page and click on the big green AUTO-DETCT YOUR GPU button.
Windows XP Drivers: NVIDIA supports Windows XP less and less with each new GPU and driver release. However, they do support many GPUs on Windows XP with their newest v331.82 drivers. You can download the 32-bit driver here or the 64-bit driver here. These drivers are only designed for desktop GPUs but you may have luck getting them to work on your notebook PC. If not, check with your notebook maker for better drivers or with NVIDIA for an older release.
Note: If you're using a relatively recent version of NVIDIA's GeForce drivers, just right-click on the NVIDIA icon in the system tray and choose Check for updates.... You can download and install the driver automatically from there. If you want to be prompted for beta driver updates, be sure to check the appropriate box in the Preferences tab.
Tip: If you're looking for an up-to-date resource on new drivers, see my Windows 7 Drivers and Windows 8 Drivers pages. I keep those pages updated with information and links to new drivers available from NVIDIA and other major hardware makers.
Realtek high definition (HD) audio drivers version R2.73 is now available, adding some unspecified "driver customizations" and supporting a number of new Realtek chips.
Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the R2.73 driver are available.
Tip: Not sure if you should download the 64-bit or 32-bit driver? See Am I Running a 32-bit or 64-bit Version of Windows? for help.
Note: As is typical with Realtek audio driver updates, there are no listed feature additions or fixes. This update was only released to improve compatibility with newer hardware that contains the Realtek audio chipset. Because you're likely not to gain much by updating, I don't recommend you install the R2.73 update unless you were asked to do so by your hardware manufacturer's technical support or you're trying to solve an issue with your Realtek-based sound card/chipset and reinstalling the drivers is a wise troubleshooting step.
More Information About R2.73:
This Realtek HD audio driver supports the following chipsets in Windows 8 & 8.1, Windows 7, and Windows Vista:
ALC882, ALC883, ALC885, ALC886, ALC887, ALC888, ALC889, ALC892, ALC899, ALC861VD, ALC867, ALC900, ALC660, ALC662, ALC663, ALC665, ALC668, ALC670, ALC671, ALC672, ALC676, ALC680, ALC221, ALC231, ALC233, ALC235, ALC255, ALC260, ALC262, ALC267, ALC268, ALC269, ALC270, ALC272, ALC273, ALC275, ALC276, ALC280, ALC282, ALC283, ALC284, ALC286, ALC290, ALC292, and ALC383.
These chipsets are supported in Windows XP and Windows 2000:
ALC880, ALC882, ALC883, ALC885, ALC886, ALC887, ALC888, ALC889, ALC892, ALC899, ALC861VC, ALC861VD, ALC867, ALC900, ALC660, ALC662, ALC663, ALC665, ALC668, ALC670, ALC671, ALC672, ALC676, ALC680, ALC221, ALC231, ALC233, ALC235, ALC255, ALC260, ALC262, ALC267, ALC268, ALC269, ALC270, ALC272, ALC273, ALC275, ALC276, ALC280, ALC282, ALC283, ALC284, ALC286, ALC290, ALC292, and ALC383.
Version 22.214.171.1247 of Intel's Chipset Device Software is now available. This update adds support for about a half dozen new devices.
Intel's INF updates are not drivers in the most technical sense, but are instead updates to important files that tell Windows how to use Intel integrated hardware. However, I usually still refer to them as drivers.
Note: If you're not experiencing any issues with your hardware then this update probably isn't necessary, though I've rarely seen Intel chipset driver updates cause any problems.
- Intel 3 Series Chipsets
- Intel 4 Series Chipsets
- Intel 5 Series Chipsets
- Intel 6 Series Express Chipsets
- Intel 7 Series Express Chipset
- Intel 8 Series Chipsets
- 2nd Generation Intel Core Chipsets
- 3rd Generation Intel Core Chipsets
- 4th Generation Intel Core Chipsets
- Intel 800 Series Chipsets
- Intel 900 Series Chipsets
- Intel Xeon 3400 Series Chipsets
- Intel Xeon 5500/3500 Series Chipsets
- Intel Server/Workstation Chipset
Important: If your Intel chipset isn't listed above, or you're not sure what motherboard you have (or if it's even an Intel motherboard or one with an Intel chipset), you can always perform any Intel related updates using their automatic Intel Driver Update Utility.
Piriform released Recuva v1.49.1019 on Monday, the latest version of their free file recovery tool. For a full overview, see my review of Recuva v1.49.1019.
This update adds multi-session UDF recovery (i.e. better file recovery from CD/DVD/BD discs), improved scanning on FAT systems, and some other smaller improvements and bug fixes.
There were a number of other great changes too, all of which you can read about on Piriform's blog post about this new version here.
As always, you can download the newest version of Recuva for free here.
Here's what they said about hard drives at Backblaze:
Backblaze uses lots of hard drives for storing data. 45 drives are mounted in each Backblaze Storage Pod, and the Storage Pods are mounted in racks in our data centers. As new customers sign up, we buy more disk drives, test them, and deploy them. We are up to 75 petabytes of cloud storage now.
And here's a brief about their results:
For the past four years, we've had enough drives to provide good statistics, but 74% of the drives we buy are living longer than four years. So while 26% of drives fail in their first four years, and we have detailed information about the failure rates of drives in their first four years, we don't yet know what will happen beyond that. So how long do drives last? Keep reading.
That's my suggestion as well... keep reading:
How long do disk drives last? [Backblaze Blog]
Interested in Backblaze for online backup? Sign up today!
Microsoft doesn't update their IE browser nearly as often as other browsers like Firefox and Chrome are updated so there were several change in IE11 over IE10, all of which you can read about here:
IE11 for Windows 7 Globally Available for Consumers and Businesses [Microsoft IEBlog]
There were very little changes on the front-end, but lots of behind the scenes changes should make using IE11 a much better experience than it has been in the past.
Belarc has released Belarc Advisor v8.4, the latest version of their free system information tool. For a full overview, see my review of Belarc Advisor v8.4.
I can't find much about improvements in this version, but it looks to me like support for Windows 8.1 is new, and no doubt there were some bug fixes and compatibility updates included.
You can download Belarc Advisor v8.4 for free here.