IE 6 fix is just in time for the New Year

Susan bradley By Susan Bradley

In this special, news-update edition of Patch Watch, I provide help for those of you who are afflicted by crashing in Internet Explorer 6.

Some other things to watch out for are the new service packs for Office 2003 and Office 2007, which are bringing trouble with them this holidayseason.

MS07-069 (942615)
Internet Explorer 6 issues corrected in patch

For those who use Internet Explorer 6 on XP SP2 machines, you may have found that merely visiting the home page of MSN.com caused your browser to crash. Dr. Jesper Johansson, who was recently named a security MVP by Microsoft, showcased the crash on his blog on Dec. 19 and provided an early workaround. Microsoft subsequently released its official version of the workaround on Dec. 20 in the form of a patch that’s downloadable via Automatic Updates.

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If you’ve experienced this crash, visit Windows Update or download the patch from Knowledge Base article 946627 to fix this issue. Once you install this update to Microsoft’s recent IE cumulative rollup, you should no longer see this problem.

Install problems plague Office 2007 SP1

On Patch Tuesday this month, Dec. 11, the arrival of Service Pack 1 for Office 2007 was confusing to many people. I haven’t yet found any Patch Watch readers whose machines automatically installed SP1. But many people inadvertently installed it and thought it had been auto-installed, because Vista offers SP1 as an optional patch and it’s prechecked, so it’s easy to miss the fact that you’re approving SP1′s installation.

Some people who have the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) or Home/Student versions of Office 2007 are finding that they get a cryptic 78F error when they try to install SP1. It appears that the cure for this requires that you uninstall Office and then reinstall it.

As one newsgroup poster pointed out in a forum post, that works only when you have an install disc. If you don’t, you’ll need to contact the OEM manufacturer for a replacement.

Office 2003 SP3 hurts Access, old file formats

If you’ve decided to spend time installing all the latest service packs this holiday season, Office 2003 SP3 is something you should consider — as long as you don’t have an Access 2003 database. Access developers are still recommending that you hold back before installing SP3 for Office 2003.

For the rest of you, if you’ve already installed SP3 and you find you can’t open older versions of files in Word and Excel, a documented Registry edit can allow you to use those files once again.

Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article 938810, which describes this workaround, is a bit tricky. For this reason, I built a file that makes the necessary Registry changes for you. It’s posted on a blog page from which you can download a .zip file that contains officefix.reg. Right-click this file, then click Merge to make the changes to your Registry.

Recent Apple patch causes Safari crash issues

Apple apparently didn’t want Microsoft to have all the crashing-browser fun after applying security patches. The Cupertino company joined in the merriment as soon as people installed Apple’s recent 2007-009 patch. After installing that update, browsing to a certain type of Web site that requires you to log in causes Safari to hang, as shown in Figure 1.

Safari crash
Figure 1. A recent Apple patch causes the Safari browser to crash with a cryptic error message.

To fix this issue, Apple users can run the company’s Software Update Service and manually scan for the updated patch, which is known as 2007-009 1.1. This will install right over the earlier 2007-009 patch.

You can read more about security update 2007-009 via Apple document 307179. The fixed 1.1 version of 2007-009, which was posted on Dec. 21, can be obtained from Apple’s download page.

QuickTime finally gets security patch

I’ve warned you about an unpatched security issue in QuickTime in several of my most recent columns. Apple finally released a fix on Dec. 13 with version 7.3.1 of QuickTime.

For those who use Apple’s automatic software-updating service, you may have been notified to update QuickTime and install iTunes at the same time. If you just want to install the fixed version of QuickTime and nothing else, visit Apple’s Web site to get the QuickTime 7.3.1 fix alone.

Alun Jones, another security MVP, doesn’t like software that installs unwanted programs from the same company. So he wrote a blog post on Dec. 17 about trying to remove unwanted iTunes, iPod, and Apple Mobile Device Support software that was installed along with QuickTime. If you’re in Alun’s situation and want to remove some of the additional junk, his post provides two links that can assist people who are using Windows XP and Vista.

MS07-069 (942615)
Security suites may cripple IE 7 after updates

If you’re running IE 7 on XP SP2, you may get a “Webpage cannot be displayed” error when trying to access the Web. If so, any of several recent updates to IE 7 may have created a conflict with your antivirus or antispyware security suite. You should check your suite’s configuration to make sure the updated version of IE is still allowed to access the Web, or contact your security vendor for an update, as described in Microsoft KB article 942818.

Over the holidays, I visited my Dad, who was having issues using AOL. Once I removed his 2006-era version of an antivirus program, and updated him to the 2008 version, his system worked perfectly. While his antivirus signatures were being regularly updated via a paid-up subscription, the older version of his application itself was causing the conflict.

Ensure that your antivirus and antispyware programs are updated to their 2008 versions as we start the New Year.

The Patch Watch column reveals problems with patches for Windows and major Windows applications. Susan Bradley recently received an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) award from Microsoft for her knowledge in the areas of Small Business Server and network security. She’s also a partner in a California CPA firm.
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Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.