Microsoft has offered a technical work-around for Internet Explorer users who have found their browsers crashing after installing a recent set of security patches.

Last week, Microsoft issued a critical security update for its browser software, fixing bugs in the browser. But soon after, users began reporting that IE would crash while visiting certain websites. These users would be forced to restart the browser after receiving an 'Internet Explorer has encountered a problem and must close' message.

Microsoft now says that the problem is not widespread and affects certain custom installations of Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP, Service Pack 2.

Customers who experience this problem can fix it by making changes to the Windows registry, described in this Knowledge Base article.

Microsoft did not say what kind of customisation would cause the bug, and company representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Some newsgroup users are speculating, however, that the issue may be related to antivirus software. Symantec and McAfee users who have been experiencing the problem have been able to resolve the issue by uninstalling the security update and then uninstalling their antivirus software, installing the update and then reinstalling their AV products, said Frank Saunders, a Windows user who has been following discussion of the issue.

The Internet Explorer patch associated with this problem - MS07-069 - is considered to be the most important of last week's updates because it fixes four critical vulnerabilities in the browser.