Coping with Microsoft's April 2006 Windows Update Headaches (MS06-015)

Dennis Faas's picture

Earlier this month, Microsoft released a series of critical patches that affect the way that Internet Explorer handles web pages that use ActiveX controls.

Microsoft's $521 Million Dollar Patch

To recap: In 2004 Microsoft lost a patent lawsuit on a method for embedding and invoking interactive applications in web browsers (such as applets and plug-ins). The patent affects the way Internet Explorer manipulates interactive content, including: Flash or QuickTime movies, Adobe acrobat reader, Apple QuickTime player, Macromedia flash player, Microsoft Windows media player, Real Networks real player and Sun Java virtual machine as well as other programs which rely on ActiveX controls to automatically load their content when you visit a web site.

How the MS06-015 Patch May Affect You

With the new Internet Explorer patch (herein referred to as "MS06-015"), users are now required to manually activate ActiveX before being allowed to use an ActiveX control. For example: when you move your mouse over an embedded object, a gray outline will appear around it and a tooltip will appear telling you that you need to click to activate and use this control. For full information about the patch, refer to MS Knowledge Base Article #912945.

Widespread Incompatibility Issues with HP and Nvidia

According to the Microsoft Security Response Center Blog, "[it] turns out that under certain circumstances, changes introduced in MS06-015 could cause an application to stop responding during specific interactions with older versions of Hewlett Packard's 'Share-to-web' software utility, or older NVIDIA video card drivers." (Source:

For a list of the problems and their resolution, refer to MS Knowledge Base Article #918165.

Microsoft's Patches for the Patch

Because the MS06-015 update affects everyone using Internet Explorer 6 and 7, Microsoft has also released a compatibility patch to temporarily disable MS06-015 until June 2006. See MS Knowledge Base Article #917425.

Note that this particular compatibility patch will not resolve the current issues with HP share-to-web software and the Nvidia drivers. In this case, refer to the paragraph below.

New Re-Release of MS06-015 Update to Fix Nvidia and HP Issues

On April 25th, Microsoft is slated to re-issue a "patched" version of MS06-015, designed to resolve issues with Internet Explorer lockups with older Hewlett-Packard devices and NVIDIA drivers. The fix will be available though Microsoft Update or automatically delivered to affected computers through Automatic Update, the company said. Microsoft said existing customers who have applied the MS06-015 update without any problem should take no further action. (Source:

Other Issues

If you have a web site that uses embedded flash such as myself, there are a few work-arounds available to get around the way your site handles the update by Microsoft. I will list some of those in the near future. If you need information about the work- arounds before then, feel free to email me. In the next few days I will be trying one of the work-arounds on my site to see how it works.

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