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Microsoft posts Tablet PC fix

Glitch allows an application that handles electronic-pen input to slowly take over a computer's memory.

Microsoft has created a fix for a glitch in its Tablet PC operating system that has been causing some laptops to lose performance over time.

On Tuesday, Microsoft posted a patch to its Web site designed to prevent the problem, known as a memory leak. The problem had cropped up in the latest version of the Tablet PC operating system. The problem was linked to the program that allowed for electronic-pen input. If left open for a long period of time, the program gradually took over the bulk of a laptop's memory, eventually forcing a user to reboot the system.

Microsoft acknowledged the memory leak issue in February and said then it was hoping a fix would be available soon.

Although Microsoft has made a "hot fix" for the issue available, the software maker warned that the patch may need more testing. The company said it was only recommending the fix be applied by those most affected by the bug.

"This hot fix may receive additional testing," the software maker said on its Web site. "Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next Windows XP service pack that contains this hot fix."

As with an increasing number of Microsoft downloads, the software maker is putting users through a validation process to make sure their copy of Windows is licensed before allowing the patch to be obtained.