Excel patch causes miscalculations

Microsoft admitted on Friday that a patch it released last week is causing Excel 2003 to make some
incorrect calculations.

"We have updated bulletin MS08-014 to provide additional information on a
newly identified issue that causes Microsoft Excel 2003
calculations to return an incorrect result when a Real Time Data
source is used," Microsoft's Security Response Center's Bill Sisk
wrote in a blog post last week.

"The issue affects a specific scenario and may not affect
you...Our teams are testing a fix and will release it once it meets
our quality bar for broad distribution," he continued.

Microsoft offers some insight into the problem in Knowledge Base
(KB) article 950340. According to the KB, after the patch is
applied on systems with "Microsoft Office Excel 2003 installed,
array-entered functions that contain a Visual Basic for
Applications (VBA) macro that refers to a Real Time Data source
return an incorrect value. The incorrect value is usually 0."

According to the very short KB item, for a current workaround,
Microsoft recommends, "Run the function on each cell individually
instead of on the array of cells."

The only other information available in the KB is that Microsoft
is working on a fix and will post more information as it becomes

The patch was released last week to stop versions of Excel from allowing several
types of remote execution attacks.

This article was originally published March 17 on RedmondMag.com, an affiliate Website of GCN.com.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the executive editor of the 1105 Redmond Media Group's Web sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com, RedDevNews.com and VisualStudioMagazine.com, among others.


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