Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 and Norton AntiVirus won’t play well together

I spent much of last Friday installing and taking pictures of the latest Office Beta release—the Beta 2 Technical Refresh (B2TR). B2TR’s improved support for images when creating blog posts was one of several updates I wanted to examine. Unfortunately, each time I tried to open a new blog post, Word 2007 just refused. The application wouldn’t crash, but it wouldn’t open a blank blog post.

After a little more investigation, I also discovered that this latest Word 2007 version ran more slowly and hung more than the previous Beta. Something was definitely wrong. When I saw Word continuously display a "Running virus scan" message in the Status Bar, I knew what it was. My test machine, a Gateway M280 convertible tablet PC, came with Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus (NAV) preinstalled. It didn’t take too much effort for me to assume NAV was conflicting with Office 2007 Beta 2 TR. A few moments later I had confirmation from Microsoft's 2007 Office system preview site FAQ.

According to Microsoft, "users running Symantec's Norton Anti-Virus Scanner may find they are unable to open Microsoft Office documents in the Beta 2 Technical Refresh due to the way the anti-virus application programming interface (API) is implemented in the technical refresh. Microsoft expects this issue to be remedied in the RTM version. All Beta 2 customers have been notified of this issue and can find additional resources on Microsoft Office Online."

Although Microsoft provides instructions for disabling the Norton AntiVirus Office plug-in, I just decided to completely uninstall NAV—this is a test machine and I’ll soon reimage it. Problem solved. Word 2007 worked perfectly. I was able to open a new blog post and the annoying "Running virus scan" message no longer appeared in the Status Bar.