Microsoft yesterday repaired a glitch that barred access to its MSN.com portal to users of non-Microsoft browsers - though at least one browser remained locked out yesterday afternoon.

Microsoft upgraded its MSN.com site last Thursday to reflect the launch of Windows XP. Many users were unable to access the site with their (non-Microsoft) browsers. Users unable to access the site were told their Web browser was unsuitable and offered the chance to download Microsoft's own browser instead.

The company said at the time that some browsers weren't able to display the site because they didn't support XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language), a standard for rendering Web pages.

Microsoft said Monday it had tested the new MSN.com site against "the most popular browsers on the market". However, after receiving complaints from users who had been locked out, the software maker determined that it had wrongly classified some browsers as "unknown". The classification is typically reserved for older browsers that are known not to work on MSN.com, the company said.

Among browsers unable to access the site were: the Opera browser from Opera Software, the Mozilla browser, and the HotJava browser from Sun Microsystems. The site should now be accessible to all users, effective immediately, Bob Visse, MSN's marketing director, said yesterday.

However, attempts to reach the site Monday afternoon using the HotJava browser were unsuccessful, returning an error message.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said she had not heard about an issue with the HotJava product. "I haven't heard anything about that specifically," she said, who asked that her name not be used. "Any browser should have access to MSN.com."