Users of HP printers, scanners and cameras may be experiencing some problems after installing Microsoft's latest round of security patches, released late last week. The problems, which concern a Windows OS (operating system) patch numbered MS06-015, can cause some applications to crash, Microsoft warned on Saturday.

"The scope is limited at the moment, but the impact might be that an application could hang when conducting certain operations, such as opening a file from the 'File-open' dialog in an application," warned Microsoft security programme manager Mike Reavey, in a Saturday posting to the Microsoft Security Response Center Blog.

Microsoft believes that the problem is primarily affecting consumer users and is having "little to no impact" on corporate networks, Reavey said.

The problem affects users who have installed software that is included with a number of HP devices, "including but not limited to printers, scanners, and cameras", wrote Microsoft's Stephen Hui, in a newsgroup posting.

Users have also experienced the problem in popular applications like applications such as Outlook and Word. "We have seen this problem on every machine with the HP scanner software installed and no others," wrote one poster to the discussion list. "For example, in Outlook when I try to attach a file the dialog will come up and when I click on the down arrow to select a drive, Outlook will crash and have to be killed with task manager."

The MS06-015 update fixes a critical vulnerability in the Windows Explorer software that could be exploited by attackers to seize control of an unpatched system. And while uninstalling the patch may correct problems with HP and other products, Microsoft does not advise this course of action.

Ready and Hui's posts suggest workarounds to the issue, one of which involves modifying the Windows Registry.

This is not the only problem reported with Microsoft's latest set of patches. An Internet Explorer update, also released last Tuesday, includes significant changes to the way the browser processes ActiveX components. Those changes have caused serious problems with Oracle's Siebel client software, as well as a variety of issues with dynamic content such as Flash animation and Java applets.