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Microsoft Office for Mac fix falls at first hurdle

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Updated Microsoft on Tuesday released an Office 2008 for Mac 12.1.7 update. By Wednesday, some fundamental problems with its installing had surfaced.

According to multiple posts on Mac-news site MacInTouch, multiple users are experiencing installation failures.

The update is intended to patch remote code execution vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac - and for users who have been able to successfully install the update, we assume it accomplishes its purpose.

Users who have the installation fail on them, however, remain vulnerable.

When we contacted Microsoft about the problems, they pointed us to their generic installation-problem web page, which offers some workarounds. Some of their suggestions are trivial - such as "Quit all Office for Mac applications" - but others require a nothing less than a full re-installation of both Office 2008 for Mac and its series of individual updates from 12.1.1 through 12.1.5. Yes, there's no 12.1.6. Why? Microsoft didn't say.

Two problems are being reported. One simply requests that you first disable the Microsoft AU Daemon - an easy enough process if you're familiar with either Mac OS X's Activity Monitor or are comfortable with the Terminal's command line, but a head-scratcher for the casual user.

The second problem, however, is a show-stopper. Some users have reported that when they reach the Destination Select pane during the installation process, they're greeted with an error message that reads: "You cannot install Office 2008 12.1.7 Update on this volume. A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume."

This message indicates a problem that may require a full re-installation. According to several MacInTouch posters, if you've freed-up disk space by deleting one or more of Microsoft Office's many language files using a utility such as Monolingual, the Office Update app doesn't regard your copy of Office 2008 as worthy of being upgraded. You'll need to reinstall it for Office Update to recognize it.

It would be nice if this information were provided by the installer. It would be even nicer if Microsoft's installer were smart enough to know that not everyone needs - or wants - multiple languages as part of their copy of Office. ®

Update

Late Wednesday a Microsoft spokesperson emailed The Reg to say that users suffering from update issues may be Exchange Web Services beta users - and that the EWS ReadMe instructs users not to install over that build.

So, if you happen to be an EWS beta user, you've now been duly warned.

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