The troublesome patch is a cumulative fix issued for Internet Explorer that was outlined in the MS05-052 advisory, released Tuesday as part of a nine-bulletin bunch. Soon after it was released, users began sharing problems and tips on Microsoft's "Windows Update" newsgroup.
Microsoft said it was looking into the problem, but wouldn't concede that the patch was itself buggy. "[We are] investigating reports of isolated issues after deployment of security update MS05-052, and working with those customers affected to understand the issue," a spokesperson said.
The troubles range from a complete breakdown of IE to an inability to reach the Windows Update Web site. In most cases, users said that all problems disappeared as soon as they uninstalled the patch using the Add or Remove Programs applet in Windows' Control Panel.
"I have WinXP SP2," wrote a user identified as "oknowhi." "When I installed all the updates today my IE was screwed up. There were no drop down menu items on top toolbar showing but they would drop down if I scrolled over them…my start menu lost all its small icons."
Another user named "DBuckner" wrote on the same newsgroups that he "removed KB896688 [the IE patch] to have everything back to normal. I then tried installing it again and everything was broke. I have uninstalled it for now to keep things working."
Microsoft has not revised the MS05-052 bulletin, or posted any additional information on the patch and problems which users might encounter. "Once the investigation is complete, Microsoft will provide the appropriate guidance to customers to help address the issue based on customer needs," the company spokesperson said.
For the moment, the only workaround seems to be to uninstall the patch. To make Windows updates visible -- and thus uninstallable -- from Add or Remove Programs, users must check the "Show updates" box at the top of the applet's display. The patch referenced by MS05-052 is labeled "KB896688."