Microsoft patch jams up IE

Security update is causing trouble for some people who have been testing version 7 of the browser.

Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Joris Evers
2 min read
Last Tuesday's "critical" security fix for Internet Explorer is causing trouble for some users who have been testing the new IE 7 browser.

Microsoft has received "scattered reports of users experiencing odd browser behavior" after installing the latest security update, Jeremy Dallman, project manager for Internet Explorer security at the company, wrote in a Friday posting to a corporate blog.

Three different problems have been reported: The browser could crash right after starting up; links may come up blank; or multiple windows may open when the browser is initiated, according to the posting.

"After investigating several of these reports, we have traced these issues to a common source," Dallman wrote. The culprit is IE 7, the next version of Microsoft's Web browser, which is in beta testing. The problems occur only if IE 7 is installed on a machine alongside IE 6. That double-IE configuration is not recommended by Microsoft, according to Dallman's note.

When installed next to IE 6, the first beta of IE 7 will add an incorrectly configured key to the Windows Registry the first time it is run, he wrote. The problem that can occur after installing the patch can be solved by deleting the key from the Windows Registry. The Windows Registry is a core part of the operating system that stores PC settings.

The trouble doesn't affect a large number of users because IE 7 has not yet been publicly released. The first test version of the browser, or the "private" beta, has only been available to selected testers. Microsoft has said that it plans to release an updated beta build of IE 7 for Windows XP before the end of March 2006.

Microsoft's patch on Tuesday included a fix for a critical security flaw in Windows that is being exploited in online attacks against IE users and three other bugs. The software maker released the patch in security bulletin MS05-054, as part of its monthly patching cycle.