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Microsoft has withdrawn a security-related update for XP after conflicts between it and third party firewall products left some users unable to connect to the Net.

The update, released last Friday (May 21), was designed to improve Microsoft's VPN client software for Windows 2000 and XP. However a software glitch meant that a proportion of the 600,000 people who'd applied the update were unable to get online.

Oh dear.

The root cause of the problem has been traced to conflicts between Microsoft's software and firewall software from Symantec, according to reports. Removing the update cures the problem.

Yesterday Microsoft withdrew the update, pending a redesign.

It was fortunate that the flaky software was a general update because it's likely that fewer people were affected by problems than might be the case with a patch.

Last month Microsoft released a security patch which slowed systems to a crawl. Difficulty in applying patches and instances where fixes fail to work properly are perennial problems for Microsoft shops.

We hope the latest problems cause Microsoft to flesh out its ideas on introducing external testing of security patches. This can't come a moment too soon. ®

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