All about computer, communications and consumer electronics (3C)

Smackdown on older Microsoft Word documents

Posted by Suntrekker on January 5, 2008

I can say that releasing a service pack that kills a user’s ability to access old, archived word documents can constiture the distribution of malware. hmmm

Microsoft  recently  released service pack for (NSDQ: MSFT)’s Office 2003 software suite renders inaccessible files saved in some older formats, including some previous versions of Microsoft Word, according to a support bulletin issued by the software maker.

The bulletin states that Microsoft Office 2003, Service Pack 3, blocks a number of file formats — including Microsoft Word 97 for Windows and Microsoft Word 98 for Macintosh.

Also blocked are file formats found in some older versions of Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint, Lotus Notes, and Corel’s Quattro spreadsheet and Draw programs.

While some of the updates that Microsoft issues may seem minor, unanticipated system changes can wreak havoc with complex business computing environments. A modification to one program can cascade through numerous other software components.

Microsoft, however, does provide a detailed workaround for those who want to defeat Service Pack 3 for Word 2003’s auto-blocking. But the workaround calls for users to modify their computers’ registry settings — a risky procedure that can render a PC unusable if not done correctly.

Source: Office 2003 Update Quietly Zaps Older File Formats, Paul McDougall, InformationWeek, 2 January 2007

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2 Responses to “Smackdown on older Microsoft Word documents”

  1. Schumey said

    Shows how arrogant or stupid Microsoft is. They should work out the kinks first before they send out the SPs to the users.

  2. pedroiho said

    The company recommended that Office 2003 users run suspect Excel files through MOICE (Microsoft Office Isolated Conversion Environment), a free conversion tool released last year that converts Office 2003 format documents into the more secure Office 2007 formats to strip out possible exploit code. hmmmm

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