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IE patch glitch sends admins in search of workarounds

Microsoft announced a workaround for IT shops affected by a flawed Internet Explorer (IE) security patch, but some administrators sought the solution on their own.

Microsoft gave administrators instructions Tuesday to avoid issues caused by the Internet Explorer (IE) security patch released last week. But thanks to routine testing procedures, Windows administrators reported only minor issues.

Kieron Shorrock of the Microsoft Security Response Center wrote in a blog posting Tuesday that Microsoft has updated its Knowledge Base article for MS07-069, KB942615, which highlights the known issue and outlines a nine-step process to work around the problem.

Microsoft IE security update:
Microsoft security update causes IE meltdown: Some users are reporting problems with Internet Explorer after installing Microsoft's MS07-069 security update.

Microsoft fixes critical DirectX, Windows and IE flaws: Microsoft's December 2007 security update includes seven patch bulletins -- three of them critical -- for flaws in various versions of Windows, IE and DirectX.

"We have been working with a small number of customers that reported issues related to the installation of MS07-069," Shorrock wrote. "Specifically, on a Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based computer, Internet Explorer 6 may stop responding when you try to a visit a Web site."

Several IT professionals said they ran into some hiccups after installing the MS07-069 fix, a cumulative IE update that was among the seven patch bulletins Microsoft released last week for its December 2007 security update. But because their patch deployment process includes a testing window to find and address such problems, they said they were able to get around the issue without much help from Microsoft.

Susan Bradley, a Microsoft MVP and IT administrator at Tamiyasu, Smith, Horn and Braun Accountancy Corp. in Fresno, Calif., said she and others found the Knowledge Base article on Microsoft's Web site hours before Shorrock posted the blog entry about it. She said these glitches come with the territory for Windows administrators, and that she personally had no problems after installing the patch on her systems.

Rhode Island-based network engineer Edward Ziots did run into trouble, but since he has a testing window built into his patch deployment process, he said the disruption was minimal. As of Tuesday he was still in the testing phase, watching for any problems on his 100-plus test systems.

Of the IE patch glitch, he said, "This is why patches need to go through test systems. Microsoft does its own regression testing but can't catch everything. Sometimes they totally get it wrong, as we have seen this month."

It's not uncommon for glitches to appear after a Microsoft security update is installed. In the week following Microsoft's October 2007 update, for example, several users reported system difficulties after installing the fixes released in security bulletins MS07-057 and MS07-058.

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