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Microsoft broke with its monthly patch cycle Tuesday to repair a bug in the way Windows handles animated cursors. Cybercrooks had been using the hole since last week to attack Windows PCs. But the fix is not compatible with software that runs audio and networking components from Realtek Semiconductor, some Windows users have found.

"Apparently the update is not compatible with Realtek," CNET reader Dave House wrote in an e-mail. "We lost all Ethernet and audio functions. Removing the update and doing system restores brought the systems back."

The cursor vulnerability is one of seven flaws addressed by Microsoft's Tuesday patch--three of them also affect Vista. Cybercrooks moved quickly to exploit the cursor hole. Security firm Websense has spotted hundreds of Web sites that try to use the bug to compromise PCs, as well as an e-mail spam campaign with links to the malicious sites.

Microsoft plans to issue additional fixes next week on its regular monthly patch day, the company said.

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