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Microsoft confirms Windows patch glitch

The software giant corroborates glitches with one of last week's Windows patches, but explains how affected users can implement workarounds.

Microsoft has confirmed industry complaints that one of last week's security updates for Internet Explorer causes problems for those using certain third-party products, but has detailed how the problems can be addressed.

According to published reports, after installing MS06-015, a critical update released a week ago to fix a remote code-execution vulnerability in Windows Explorer involving the way the program handles COM objects, users of Hewlett-Packard Co. hardware and software experienced various problems, as did users of Sunbelt Software's Kerio Personal Firewall and various nVidia Corp. video cards.

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In a posting early Tuesday on the Microsoft Security Response Center blog, Security Program Manager Mike Reavey said the software giant had confirmed that, under certain circumstances, changes introduced by MS06-015 could cause an application to stop responding during specific interactions with older versions of HP's Share-to-Web digital photo-sharing software utility, or older nVidia video card drivers.

In a newly posted Microsoft Knowledge Base article, the vendor confirmed that Kerio Personal Firewall users and Share-to-Web users that are also using HP's PhotoSmart software, DeskJet printers with a card reader, certain scanners, cameras and CD/DVD-RW drives may experience the following issues:

  • The inability to access special folders like "My Documents" or "My Pictures."
  • Unresponsive Office applications when you attempt to save or open Office files in the "My Documents" folder.
  • The inability to open Office files in the "My Documents" folder.
  • Unresponsive programs after opening a file through an application's File / Open menu.
  • Typing an address into Internet Explorer's address bar has no effect.
  • Right-clicking on a file and selecting "Send To" has no effect.
  • Clicking on the plus (+) sign beside a folder in Windows Explorer has no effect.
  • Unresponsive third-party applications when opening or saving data in the "My Documents" folder.

    The issue is caused by a new binary, VERCLSID.EXE, which is installed along with MS06-015. The file validates shell extensions before they are instantiated by the Windows Shell or Windows Explorer, but on some computers it incites an unresponsive condition.

    Microsoft said a workaround for Share-to-Web users is to manually edit the MS06-015 "white list" so that VERCLSID.EXE doesn't scan the HP shell extension. The software giant said Kerio Personal Firewall customers can also implement a workaround by configuring the product to allow VERCLSID.EXE to execute without prompting.

    As for nVidia users, Reavey said those who have downloaded newer video card drivers from nVidia's Web site should not experience problems, even if they use older hardware. He added that the company is working directly with HP, nVidia and Sunbelt Software to assist affected customers.

    MS06-015 was one of five new updated released last week as part of Microsoft's regularly scheduled monthly security update. It released two other critical patches, one of which addressed the widely exploited createTextRange flaw in Internet Explorer and implemented some legally mandated changes in how its browser handles ActiveX controls, and another that fixed a remote code execution vulnerability in the RDS.Dataspace ActiveX control that is distributed via Microsoft data access components (MDAC), a collection of components used to provide database connectivity on Windows platforms.

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