Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bizarre MS Office Problem

Earlier this week, Microsoft Office stopped working on my computer.  The same thing happened whether I was using Office XP or Office 2003, and it was maddening.  While I might put on bravado and claim that I don’t like MS products, that’s pretty much a lie.  I pay $10 each, every month for my wife and I to have Exchange accounts.  If I’m paying for Exchange, I want Outlook to work too.

The error indicated that “Word [Outlook, Excel, etc] is not installed for the current user.”  So, I did some searching and found a whole litany of reasons why this might be.  After spending an entire week installing and uninstalling office multiple times daily I had decided that most of the “fixes” were simply superstitious coincidences.  Every time I saw a post indicating a fix, I wanted to scream “LIAR”!

My user account is an administrator account, so permissions seemed an unlikely culprit.  Oddly enough, though, the machine Administrator account could run Office.  Strange.  So, I created a test user with limited authority.  That user could also start Office.  Harumph.  My logical conclusion was that my user profile must be corrupt, so I reset my profile.  Still no dice.

The final step was to completely delete my user account and create a new account with the same name.  And (drumroll please….) it worked!  After reclaiming permissions on my original profile, I got my settings back too.

This begs the question “What’s up with that?”  What prompts a problem with someone’s security account?  Should I expect more shenanigans?  Perhaps.  In the meantime, I’m simply happy to have Outlook open and synchronizing in the background.

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