Users of Hewlett-Packard 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 operating system patch numbered MS06-015, can cause some applications to crash, Microsoft warned at the weekend.

"The scope is limited at the moment, but the impact might be that an application could hang when conducting certain operations, like opening a file from the 'File-open' dialog in an application," warned Microsoft Security Program Manager Mike Reavey, in a Saturday posting to the Microsoft Security Response centre 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 also have experienced the problem in popular applications like applications like Outlook or Word. "We have seen this problem on every machine with the HP scanner software installed and no others," wrote one poster to the PatchManagement.org 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 post's suggest work-arounds to the issue, one of which involves modifying the Windows registry.

This is not the only problem being 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 like Flash animation or Java applets.