Many people awoke today to discover their machines had mysteriously rebooted. Never fear, however, for it was just the monthly patch cycle Microsoft pushes out. Patch Tuesday for December brought several fixes, including patches for many “critical” rated Internet Explorer 7 bugs.

Some lesser patching occurred as well, such as a patch for Macrovision “copy-protection”, a patch for SMB in Vista, a Vista kernel update and others. Altogether, Patch Tuesday brought 11 fixes to the table in 7 separate patches. A security firm analyzing Microsoft's releases year to year notes that things haven't changed much from 2006 to 2007, which can be taken as both good and bad. This is the last patch cycle of the year, with a total of 43 "critical" flaws fixed during the entirety of 2007. With an increasing number of Vista deployments in 2008, we can expect to see an increasing number of fixes dedicated to it as time goes on.

If you aren't auto-updating, some of the patches are well worth it and should be applied.