Microsoft has admitted that last week's IE security patches did cripple the browser for some users, but rather than rework the fix, the company has offered a registry hack workaround.

The confirmation and workaround came a week after users installed Security Update MS07-069 on 11 December, and users began reporting they were unable to connect to the Internet with IE or that the browser kept crashing. MS07-069, one of seven bulletins issued on December's "Patch Tuesday," fixed four critical vulnerabilities in IE 5.01, IE6 and IE7.

Microsoft has now owned up to the problem. "On a Windows XP Service Pack 2-based computer, Internet Explorer 6 may stop responding when you try to a visit a website," said Kieron Shorrock, the program manager responsible for IE at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC).

In a later post to the MSRC blog, Shorrock downplayed the problem, saying, "We have been working with a small number of customers that reported issues related to the installation of MS07-069." He claimed that the bug appeared only in what he called "a customised installation."

"This isn't a widespread issue," Shorrock added.