Some of the oldest security flaws in Windows- up to seven months old- were patched in a sweeping Easter bulletin from Microsoft, culminating in a set of 20 Windows updates measuring just under four megabytes.

Sadly the weight of worldwide traffic logging to the Windows Update website to get these critical fixes, is causing massive slowdown not seen since the rush for the Unreal Tournament 2004 game demo downloaded 1.5 million times. It also brings into question Microsoft's repealing of cover CD updates beyond its own publications from Future Publishing if it had not added extra server bandwidth at Redmond and around the world for these updates.

Since the holes affect versions of Windows from 98 and NT Workstation 4.0 (with service pack 6a) to XP and Server 2003 - including the 64bit versions- this explains the popularity of the updates. On a 512K broadband connection it took us half an hour at 11am this morning to get the fixes in spite of their small size. Dialup users may need their whole two hour allotment prior to cutoff to get them, or obtain the patches overnight.

Zone Labs also took the time to update their free ZoneAlarm Firewall to v4.5.594.000 today. Registered users would have been notified automatically in the style of Windows Update. Everyone else can visit zonelabs.com and nagivate to the download area. Its normal down speed seems unaffected by the gridlock over at Microsoft. Don't forget to disconnect if you're on 56K, or raise the Windows XP firewall if you're on broadband, before you update ZoneAlarm, to remain protected. The XP firewall can then be lowered when the new version is up and running.

Windows update: www.windows-update.com
Zone Labs: www.zonelabs.com

Keep an eye out for more updates like these and other virus warnings in the Software section of pocket-lint.co.uk's forums.