On August 18, starting just before 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, users across the globe began reporting problems with Microsoft's Azure virtual machines, web sites and other cloud services.
"Starting at 18 Aug 2014 17:49 UTC we are experiencing an interruption to Cloud Services and Virtual Machines in multiple regions," noted Microsoft officials on the Azure staus page.
Microsoft on Friday quietly recommended that customers uninstall one of last week's security updates after users reported that it crippled their computers with the infamous "Blue Screen of Death" (BSOD).
The update, identified as MS14-045 in Microsoft's numbering, was one of nine released on "Patch Tuesday," Aug. 12, was designed to fix three separate flaws, including one related to a font vulnerability and another in the Windows kernel, the heart of the operating system.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer has a bit of a brand identity issue on its hands. Because of decisions made many, many years ago, Internet Explorer 6 has left a sour taste in the mouths of developers and consumers. Even some of the older iterations like IE7 and 8 are still loathed by consumers but later iterations like IE10 and 11 have fared much better in terms of providing a positive web browsing experience.
Adobe and Microsoft today each independently released security updates to fix critical problems with their products. Adobe issued patches for Adobe Reader/Acrobat, Flash Player and AIR, while Microsoft pushed nine security updates to address at least 37 security holes in Windows and related software.
With support for Windows XP now ending, many people are concerned about whether their computers are still secure. Some of those people will also have been relying on Microsoft Security Essentials to protect their PC, as it's freely available.
The good news is that Microsoft will continue to support the XP version of the software up until July 2015. The bad news is that is was never much cop to begin with, with other free anti-virus options performing far better in our tests, and even a Microsoft employee admitted it was supposed to be a 'baseline' product.