Microsoft's disclosure on Tuesday of a sweeping new software vulnerability was met with annoyance but little surprise by PC Advisor readers who were some of the first to wake up to yet another day of patching yesterday.

The vulnerability appears in a Windows component called ASN.1 library, which affects a wide array of Windows software and features on both the desktop and server sides.

Microsoft rated the flaw "critical" and computer security experts warned it was one of the most serious vulnerabilities discovered in the company's software to date. Hackers could potentially raid users' systems, accessing and changing data, according to Microsoft.

The software giant released a patch on Tuesday, urging users to download it as soon as possible.

PC Advisor reader Shaun Megson, a Microsoft home user from Derbyshire, said he took the flaw seriously enough to download the patch after hearing about it on the local news.

Fellow reader Paul Bournat from Surrey said that he also began his day by applying the security patch.

"Most of these flaws seem to really be of concern to small business and home users," Bournat said, speculating that larger businesses would have sufficient additional security. However, he added that most home users he encounters "don't really understand what a patch is or why they need it."

Media coverage of the security hole was widespread yesterday, but not all the information was complete or accurate.

Microsoft representatives said that there had been no reported problems with downloading the patch, adding that "tens of thousands" already had.

The new hole is just the latest in a string of high-profile security threats targeting the software maker, such as the Mydoom-B and Blaster viruses, and users appear a bit fed up.

"Imagine if you bought a car and then found that by tapping a certain body panel in a certain way you trip the central locking and thieves could get in? Would you buy one? Would you take it back if you had?" Bournat queried.