Microsoft (Quote) is planning a big security update for next Tuesday, with a total of 12 bulletins for the Windows operating system and for many of its major applications.

The software giant has tabbed several of these fixes, come days after Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates discussed the need to shore up computer security in a keynote session at the RSA security show, as "critical."

Five security bulletins involve Microsoft Windows. The company did not say if this is restricted to just Windows XP or also includes the newly-released Windows Vista. Some of the fixes require a restart of the computer.

Two Microsoft security bulletins affect Microsoft Office, the highest rated critical. A number of Microsoft Office-related bugs have emerged in recent weeks, some of which have not been patched. In addition, one bulletin impacts both Windows and Office.

The rest are a curious assortment of Microsoft products not prone to security issues. One bulletin impacts Visual Studio, the highest level severity being "important." Another bulletin affects the Step-by-Step Interactive Training, the highest level being important.

There is one security bulletin for the Data Access Components, the highest rated at critical. The final bulletin affects Windows Live OneCare, Microsoft Antigen, Microsoft Windows Defender, Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server and Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint with a rating of critical.

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