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More Microsoft Mess

Do you use any of Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Office software products? Like, say, Word? If so, you need a little fixin' up.

The world's No. 1 software maker says a flaw in its ubiquitous office suite of programs could allow a really mean user to access your computer and do really mean things (like run programs and delete files, for instance). So, if you use any version of Office, Word, FrontPage, Publisher, or Works Suite, you should visit this link to see if you're at risk.

But wait, there's more. Mr. Softy identified four other flaws yesterday, bringing its total to 39 this year. (We're not making that up.) So, if you run Microsoft software at all -- including the Windows operating system -- visit the link anyway to see if you need to apply a patch.

Microsoft has had a horrible few weeks. While Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) Mac devotees just shake their heads in wonder, Windows users have had to contend with the Blaster worm and several variants. And yet, the stock price only trails the S&P 500's 12% gain this year by about four percentage points. (Apple, meanwhile, is up over 50%.)

Luckily, the five latest flaws can only be exploited if the user opens an infected document; the code can't execute automatically as was the case with the Blaster worm. But Microsoft users are getting tired of the same ol' song and dance. Bill Gates and his team have made better security a top priority in the company, but so far there's a critical flaw in their execution.

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