02:43 PM

Microsoft Patch 'Erases' Outlook Express Addresses; Users Irked

After applying the patch from security bulletin MS06-016, dozens of users say their Outlook Express E-mail client's address book disappeared and form-style messages couldn't be sent.

Another Microsoft patch from the batch released last week is apparently causing problems, at least according to numerous Windows users on the Redmond, Wash. developer's official message boards.

After applying the patch from security bulletin MS06-016, say dozens of users, their Outlook Express e-mail client's address book disappeared and form-style messages can't be sent.

"After the update was applied last Thursday, when I try to open one of the .eml [templates] on my desktop, it opens and only allows me to forward the e-mail," wrote Ken Terry on Microsoft's Outlook Express newsgroup.

"After my computer auto updated patch KB 911567 I noticed my address book was empty," wrote another user, Mark Johnson, on Wednesday.

The problem said users, including several Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals), was the MS06-016 patch (also tagged as KB911567); uninstalling the patch returned the address book to its prior state and allowed template-based messages to be e-mailed normally.

That wasn't enough for many users, however, who were frustrated to find out later the same day or the day after that that Windows had again downloaded and installed the faulty patch.

"This did indeed fix my problem. However, it was automatically reinstalled last night," wrote Terry. "Is there a way to prevent this patch from reinstalling after I remove it?"

As other helpful users pointed out, Windows' Automatic Updates can be turned off or modified via the Security Center control panel applet. The best tactic, said MVP Robear Dyer is "not to turn off Automatic Updates [but] instead select either the "Notify Only" or "Download but do not install" option." To stop Microsoft/Windows Update from nagging users to add the uninstalled update, Dyer recommended that they check the "Don't tell me about it again" box.

This is the third patch proffered April 11 that has reportedly given users fits. Another, MS06-015, has forced users to come up with automated techniques to modify the Windows registry, the only workaround Microsoft's offered so far.

A Microsoft spokesman acknowledged that the company was looking into the problem, but wouldn't go into specifics.

"Microsoft is investigating reports that some customers who deployed security update MS06-016 may be experiencing issues with certain functions in Outlook Express," he said. "Upon completion of the investigation Microsoft will provide customer guidance as necessary."

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