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Windows Update Servers Slowed By Rush To Patch

Microsoft's April security problems didn't stop when it rolled out four alerts and disclosed 20 vulnerabilities on Tuesday. That day, and the day after, Microsoft's update servers were plagued by slow downs that prevented some users from obtaining the necessary patches.

The U.K.-based Web performance monitoring firm Netcraft on Wednesday noted that Microsoft's Windows Update site -- the primary means for users to download security patches -- experienced "slow response times" in the wake of the release of the numerous critical updates.

Netscraft's numbers on Wednesday showed that the average wait at six Windows Update servers -- from New York and Amsterdam to Sydney and London -- ranged between 1.3 and 1.6 seconds, with the maximum waits as long as 20 seconds. Depending on the server, anywhere from five to eleven percent of the attempts to reach Windows Update failed.

"The sluggish performance of Windows Update was a particular challenge for Windows users on dial-up connections, as the Windows XP download is three megabytes," Netcraft said.

During Wednesday's monthly follow-up Webcast on the just-released vulnerabilities, Microsoft executives noted the high volume of users accessing Windows Update, saying that the number of requests was about double the norm.

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