With Service Pack 1 still in the distance, customers need to turn to Windows Update for refreshes designed to improve their experience with the latest Windows client and server platforms. Although Microsoft is not emphasizing the relevancy of WU over that of major service pack upgrades for Windows 7 to the same level it did for Windows Vista, the company is indeed relying on its update mechanism for the evolution of the operating system ahead of the delivery of the first service pack. Since the RTM of Windows 7, the software giant has made two stability and reliability updates available, via WU and as standalone packages on the Microsoft Download Center. Refreshed versions of both were offered to customers on March 8.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 users are free to download revised versions of “The January 2010 stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is available” and the “The October 2009 stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 is available.” This is the third time that the company tweaked the two updates and offered them to users running the successors of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 R2.

KB 977074 deals with the following problems:

“- Keyboard function keys or keyboard shortcuts, such as mute or calculator, may not work correctly.

– The notification icon for an application may be moved or lost when the executable application is updated.

– On a computer that is running Windows 7, you configure the Screen Saver Settings to display the logon screen on resume. Additionally, you configure the computer to go to sleep. However, the computer may not go to sleep after the screen saver starts. Instead, a black screen is displayed. This problem causes the operating system to stop responding. You must restart the computer by holding down the power button.”

KB 974431 is designed to fix these issues:

“- When you view a PDF file that was created by using a 2007 Microsoft Office system document, the PDF file is displayed on the screen correctly. However, when the document is printed, some characters are missing. This problem occurs in fonts such as Calibri, Cambria, Courier New, or Gabriola in which character combinations such as “fi,” “ti,” “fl,” and other combinations are frequently presented as ligatures.

– In certain scenarios, an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message does not automatically tune to the appropriate channel in Windows Media Center.

– You connect a secondary monitor to a computer that is running Windows 7. When the computer resumes from hibernation, a black screen is displayed.

– In certain scenarios, the Windows 7 Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) diagnostic information settings are configured incorrectly for Windows Explorer. Only those users who are enrolled in the Windows 7 CEIP will be affected by this part of the update. This update limits the diagnostic information that can be collected by the CEIP.

– You put an x86-based computer that does not have Physical Address Extension (PAE) enabled into hibernation. However, the computer does not enter hibernation correctly. When you try to resume the computer from hibernation, a black screen is displayed. This issue does not affect x64-based or Itanium-based computers, or computers that have the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature enabled.

– A problem in Windows 7 affects the playback of certain media files in Windows Media Player when Windows Media Player is started from Windows Internet Explorer. Only those users whose media associations were changed incorrectly will be affected by this part of the update.

– On a computer that is running Windows 7, you use Internet Explorer to open the certificate enrollment Web page and to install an end entity certificate. However, the installation fails. This issue occurs if the certificate chain for the new certificate cannot be built, or if the root certification authority (CA) has not first been installed in the Trusted Roots on the computer.”

KB 977074 download links:

Windows 7, 32-bit versions
Windows 7, 64-bit versions
Windows Server 2008 R2, 64 bit versions
- Windows Server 2008 R2 IA-64-based versions.

KB 974431 download links:

Windows 7, 32-bit versions
Windows 7, 64-bit versions
Windows Server 2008 R2, 64 bit versions.

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