Today is Patch Tuesday. April's patches consist of 4 updates that correct several unique security issues across Microsoft Windows operating systems and some other Microsoft software.
Also this month, Windows 8.1 is being updated to Windows 8.1 Update (via a non-security update). This month also marks the end of Windows XP support. See Support for Windows XP Ends April 8: Here's What You need to Know for more on this.
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 supported edition of Microsoft's operating systems, 32-bit or 64-bit. This includes Windows 8 (as well as Windows 8.1), Windows 7, and Windows Vista. Windows XP is also receiving security updates this month but, as I mentioned above, this will be the last time that happens.
All supported versions of Microsoft Office are also getting security updates, including Office Viewer and Compatibility Packs. This includes Microsoft Office for Mac as well.
Popular business and enterprise software is also being updated, including supported Windows Server operating systems, as well as SharePoint Server and Office Web Apps.
Some of these updates correct issues so serious that, in certain situations, remote access to your computer may be possible without your permission. These issues are classified as critical, while some others this month are less serious and classified as important.
See Microsoft Security Bulletin Severity Rating System for more on these classifications.
Important: In case you missed my note above, updates are being released for Windows XP this month, but for the last time.
Are There Any Non-Security Updates This Month?
Yes, most notably the Windows 8.1 Update update for Windows 8.1 I mentioned at the start of this post.
Additional non-security updates are being made available for Windows 8 (pre-update), Windows 7, and Windows Vista. Also, as usual, Microsoft is pushing this month's update to the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool.
Some Microsoft Surface tablets are also getting driver and firmware updates, among other fixes. You can get all the details on the Surface RT, Surface 2, Surface Pro, and Surface Pro 2 update history pages.
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.
Automatically install: via Windows Update.
Manually install: via the individual Bulletin IDs listed in the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for April 2014. See Do I Have 32-bit or 64-bit Windows? if you're not sure which downloads to choose.
Next Patch Tuesday: will be May 13, 2014.
Patch Tuesday Problems
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.
If you haven't yet installed these patches, 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 you're having problems after Patch Tuesday, or during or after installing any Windows update:
- See How To Recover From a Frozen Windows Update Installation for help if your computer freezes during the installation of an update.
- See How To Fix Problems Caused by Windows Updates for help undoing the damage if the updates already installed but you're now experiencing a problem.
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?!"
More Help with Patch Tuesday April 2014
Run in to some trouble during or after April's Patch Tuesday? Head over to Google+ and leave a new comment on my post:
Patch Tuesday Problems: April 2014 [Google+]
Be sure to let me know exactly what's happening, what version of Windows you're using, and what if any errors you're seeing, and I'd be happy to help you out.
Note: I used to allow commenting on this post about Patch Tuesday problems but it got out of hand very quickly, spam was a problem, and it was difficult to actually help anyone out. So, as you can see, I am instead posting on Google+ about Patch Tuesday and helping people there. I understand not everyone will like this change but it solves a lot of problems, most importantly it'll allow me to better manage comments, meaning yours is more likely to get a personal answer. That's a good thing!
If you need help with a computer problem but it's not about an issue you're having surrounding Microsoft's Patch Tuesday, see my Get More Help page for information about contacting me for personal assistance.