Microsoft has made available for download a reliability refresh designed to resolve issues affecting Windows Vista, including platforms upgraded to Service Pack 2, in Bluetooth pairing scenarios. According to the Redmond company, Bluetooth pairing issues affect only Windows Vista, and not customers running Windows XP or the latest version of the Windows client, Windows 7. Customers can now grab an update from the Microsoft Download Center, set up to resolve reliability issues associated with Windows Portable Devices (WPD).

“You try to pair a Bluetooth device with a computer that is running Windows Vista. When you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the Bluetooth device, the Bluetooth services on the Bluetooth device are not enabled automatically. You have to manually enable the services,” the software giant explained. “This issue does not occur when you initiate Bluetooth pairing from the computer. In this situation, the Bluetooth device’s services are turned on automatically.”

Microsoft is offering the Vista SP2 Bluetooth pairing reliability update for both the 32-bit (x86) and the 64-bit (x64) versions of the operating system. “To apply this update, you must have hotfix 971514 installed on a computer that is running Windows Vista Service Pack 2,” the company informed. More »

The July 2009 Security Release ISO Image is now available for download from Microsoft, having been offered concomitantly with the company’s monthly patch cycle releases. In addition to serving each month’s security bulletins through Windows Update, the software giant is also packaging the patches aimed for the supported Windows client and server operating system as an ISO image. In this context, customers can now access Windows-related security updates, including for Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and Windows XP SP3 that went live on July 14, 2009, through the DVD5 ISO image package.

“This month we are releasing six bulletins. Three of those affect Windows and are rated Critical. All three of those also have an Exploitability Index rating of ‘1’ which means that we believe that consistent exploit code in the wild is highly likely within the first 30 days,” revealed Jerry Bryant, Microsoft security program manager. “The remaining three bulletins are all rated Important and affect Microsoft Office Publisher, Microsoft ISA Server, and both Virtual PC and Virtual Server. The first two also have Exploitability Index ratings of ‘1’ so please consider this while doing your risk assessment. In total, we are addressing nine vulnerabilities this month.” More »

Microsoft is making it easy for users running Windows Vista Service Pack 2, but also SP1, to resolve sound problems affecting the operating system after the deployment of a service pack. In this manner, the Redmond company is acknowledging that Vista users can run into issues related to sound once they upgrade their platform either to SP1 or to SP2. Fortunately enough, the software giant provides users with an automated solution for eventual sound problems via KB948481. Microsoft is essentially providing a Fix It button and associated solution that will help users troubleshoot any sound issues introduced with the installation of a new service pack.

“After you install a Windows Vista service pack, you may experience one or more of the following problems with sound: no sound is produced when you play audio files or run programs that have an audio component. The speaker symbol next to the clock in the notification area may display the following message: No Audio Output Device is installed. The Sound Controller in Device Manager displays a yellow exclamation point. The sound quality changes. For example, if you previously had surround sound, you may now have stereo sound,” Microsoft explained. More »

Concomitantly with this month’s security bulletin releases, Microsoft has also made available for download the June 2009 Security Release ISO Image. The ISO image is designed as a package containing all the patches released by Microsoft on June 9th, 2009, but only those plugging vulnerabilities in Windows client and server operating systems. June 2009 was synonymous with the release of no less than 10 new security bulletins. No less than six bulletins impact Windows, Microsoft explained.

“This month’s release addresses 31 total vulnerabilities with 15 rated as “1” on our Exploitability Index, meaning there is a high likelihood that reliable exploit code may be developed in the next 30 days,” stated Jerry Bryant, Sr. security program manager lead.

As it is traditional, Microsoft is offering all security patches designed to resolve vulnerabilities in Windows platforms in a single package. The June 2009 Security Release ISO Image comes to compensate the lack of Windows Server Update Services in IT environments that require security update to be downloaded in multiple individual language versions and then deployed. More »

Windows Vista, even before the advent of SP1, namely as RTM, while it had its sins when it came down to compatibility and support, was extremely stable in comparison to Windows XP. However, given the necessary amount of abuse and the right triggers, Vista reliability can suffer just as much as its precursors. It is the case of repeated hot-unplugs of USB devices, which can easily lead to Vista Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2 crashing. A hot unplug refers to the action of disconnecting a USB device from a machine without turning to the Safely Remove Hardware feature.

Windows Server 2008 RTM and SP2 are also affected by this problem, the Redmond company revealed. The software giant indicated that it is sufficient to surprise remove a USB device several times in order to cause a crash of the operating system.

“After you plug the USB device into the USB port in this scenario, the device does not appear in Device Manager. More »