Happy Patch Tuesday, everyone. You know the drill: We report the facts, and then you patch your system. Like the tides, and our weekly Microsoft roundup, this monthly installment is something you can set your watch to.

Kidding, who owns a watch these days?

Right, to the facts: This month there are four critical bulletins, one marked ‘Important,’ and one that is merely ‘Moderate.’ What the cutoff is between Important and Moderate we know not, but if you actually know what a ‘Microsoft Internet Information Services’ is, the lowest tier update is for you.

Which of the patches is most key? The Internet Explorer update contains new code that will fix “three privately reported vulnerabilities” in the software. That’s more than two. According to security firm Qualys, “the IE update MS12-071 [is] the most urgent update, though it only affects IE 9.” Time to move over to Internet Explorer 10, then, right?

It’s worth noting that this is hardly the first cumulative update for Internet Explorer.

As a landmark: Three critical updates implicate and fix Windows 8. Welcome to the game, Windows 8, it’s good to have you here.

Finally, we’re going to land under 100 bulletins this year, Qualys notes, which is a landmark not met in either 2011 or 2012. The firm calls this a ‘win’ for IT folks. Technically, if Microsoft releases 24 bulletins, then we could in fact break that 100 mark, but that would require a quadrupling of this month’s output, and we frankly have not seen the chatter to indicate that any such thing is coming.

If you have Windows Update turned on, it’s time to get a’patchin’.

Top Image Credit: Martin Magdalene