I've gotten a few reader questions about all the out-of-band Windows patches they've been seeing over the past couple of days. A quick check over at the Microsoft Download Center shows that, yes, indeed, all kinds of updates are in the pipeline for XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The promised Windows 7 anti-piracy updates that Microsoft officials said to expect before the end of February also are starting to arrive. Those updates -- known officially as Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7 -- are designed to detect more than 70 known activation hacks, according to the Softies. They also are designed to detect pirated, "non-Genuine" copies of Windows.
Microsoft delivering the activation update first to Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate and Enterprise users via Windows Update starting this week, company officials said. The update won't be automatic (unless you're a Windows Update user who has specified to receive all updates automatically). It will be marked as “Important.” Ultimately, the update will be available for all versions of Windows 7.
There's more information about the activation update in Knowledge Base Update 971033 on the Microsoft support site.
There are a lot of other udpates for XP, VIsta and Windows 7 that Microsoft released this week, too. Some are fairly obscure -- unless you are one of on a Czech Windows 7 computer, where some notification messages are displayed in Romanian instead of Czech. (Yes, there's now a fix for that.) There are also new compatibility updates for Vista and Windows 7, enabling a slew of applications that previously didn't work or work well on those systems to function better.
There are a few Media Center updates, including one for DVD playback and another for tuner-compatibility issues. There's a sleep/hibernate update for PCs running certain Intel processors. And there's a Daylight Saving Time update or two in the mix.