Repairing Microsoft Office 2000

If Office 2000 has been badly damaged, you have more options than reinstalling from scratch. In this Daily Feature, Brien Posey explains what they are.

If your network workstations run a vulnerable operating system such as Windows 98, you’ll no doubt have situations in which users severely damage desktop applications. If one of these applications happens to be Microsoft Office 2000, fixing it can be a real trick. In this Daily Feature, I’ll explain some methods you can use to bring Office 2000 back from the dead.

If Office 2000 has been badly damaged, the first thing you should try is reinstalling it through the usual methods. Because of the way Office 2000 works, though, sometimes simply reinstalling won’t cut it. In these situations, you have to resort to more drastic measures. The Setup program that comes with Office 2000 has several switches you can use to correct the problem.

To truly understand the syntax of the installation switches, you need to know that the setup process for Office 2000 works very differently from that of previous Office versions. The Setup program relies on a Microsoft Installer (MSI) package file. This file contains a great deal of information regarding Setup. Many of the command-line Setup switches require a package path. In these switches, the package path is nothing more than the path to the MSI file on the Office 2000 CD. Below, I’ve listed the various available command-line switches for Setup, along with their syntax.

Autorun /AUTORUN
Wait for Setup to complete before exiting f/WAIT
Read settings file /SETTINGS <.INI file path>
Install or reconfigure /I <package path>
Repair /F <reinstall mode> <package path>
Uninstall /X <package path>
Administrator Mode /A <package path>
Patch /P <package path>

There are several other Setup options that apply only to Windows 2000.

Although using the Setup switches listed above can sometimes repair Office 2000, most of the switches depend on the Windows installer information being correct. If this information has been altered, the switches may not work at all. If you’re having difficulty getting the switches to work, you can test to see whether this information has been damaged by opening Control Panel, double-clicking the Add/Remove Programs icon, and trying to uninstall Office 2000. If the Microsoft Installer information has become corrupted, you won’t be able to uninstall Microsoft Office.

In such a situation, you have only two choices. The first option is to format the hard disk and reload everything from scratch. The second option is to download a cool uninstaller utility from Microsoft’s Web site. This utility removes all the files and registry entries associated with Microsoft Office 2000. Then, you can install Office 2000 just as if it had never been installed on the system before. I’ve personally used this utility to recover systems I thought were hopelessly damaged.

Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance technical writer and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. If you’d like to contact Brien, send him an e-mail. (Because of the large volume of e-mail he receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message. However, he does read them all.)

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