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Windows NT update carries bug

A software update for Microsoft's Windows NT operating system introduces a bug that can potentially cripple Lotus Notes unless companies compromise network security.

A software update for Microsoft's corporate-use operating system introduced a bug that could potentially cripple Lotus Notes unless companies compromise network security.

The bug in Windows NT Service Pack 6 prevents users from accessing Lotus Notes without administrator rights--the highest and broadest level of network access, typically reserved for network managers. Companies generally restrict user access to prevent security breaches or catastrophic accidental changes to PCs or servers. Microsoft said it posted a patch today.

The bug puts companies that have installed the service pack in a bind, possibly forcing them to grant users temporary administrator privileges in order to use Lotus Notes. The Redmond, Washington-based software maker is advising customers using Lotus Notes not to apply Service Pack 6 until a fix is released later this week.

Microsoft periodically releases service packs as a way of adding features to its software or correcting known errors. This isn't the first Microsoft update to introduce a bug, but some analysts downplayed the problem because of the update's inconsequence.

The bug would be bigger issue "If this was Service Pack 4, because it was a required update," said Aberdeen analyst James Gruener.

Service Pack 4 contained essential files for ensuring Windows NT 4 is not affected by the Y2K technology glitch, which can make some PCs mistake 2000 for 1900.

"If I was a customer and I had already started deploying it, I would be livid," Gruener said. "But from the standpoint of Microsoft, they've identified the problem and plan to fix it."

Several PC manufacturers, among them Dell Computer, reported applying the service pack without any affect to Lotus Notes.