Microsoft Office XP has the same functionality introduced in Office 2000 for detecting and repairing missing or corrupt files in an Office installation. This functionality has helped administrators reduce the number of application failures caused when files are accidentally deleted or overwritten by older files.
Automatic repair feature of Office
The automatic repair of applications and features in Office is an important part of managing an Office installation. This capability is made possible by tracking important groupings of Office resources known as components — a defined set of files or registry entries necessary for an application to function properly. The list defining these components is stored in the respective Windows Installer package (MSI file) for each edition of Office. This MSI file is always stored as a hidden file on each computer that has Office installed.
Important sets of files and/or registry entries within a component are marked as keypath resources. If a keypath of a component is missing or corrupt when Office attempts to load or access it, Office requests Windows Installer to restore all of the files and registry entries asssociated with that component from the original installation source (CD ROM) or administrative installation point (server).
The same technology used to install or uninstall Office XP on a user's computer — Windows Installer — also performs all repairs. Windows Installer uses the hidden cached MSI file for the respective edition of Office to reinstall all missing or defective keypath entries.
This repair process happens automatically, without user intervention, when Office detects a failure. A user might notice a slight delay in starting an application when files and/or registry entries are replaced, but the application should resume functioning when the repair completes. Only if the installation source is not available will a user be prompted to supply access to the installation source. If a CD ROM was used, they will need to insert the CD into the CD drive. If an administrative installation point is used, and it is unavailable due to a network being down or the server location is no longer available, then the user will need to supply a new administrative installation point UNC or drive alias.
Forcing an application repair
Users can force the repair of an application they think is corrupt. The Detect and Repair command (Help menu) in any Office XP application forces Windows Installer to review all Office files associated with the installation. If any components have missing or corrupt keypaths, new copies of files or registry settings are retrieved from the original installation source and are copied to the proper locations on the computer. Registry entries are corrected or reset to default installation settings if required.
There are two options available on the Detect and Repair dialog, Restore my shortcuts while repairing and Discard my customized settings and restore default settings (all user settings/customizations). Administrators have the option of disabling these two options through policy settings in the Office10.adm template (Microsoft Office XP | Help | Detect and Repair…).
Users can also repair an application by running Office XP Setup in maintenance mode (click Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel and select support information, then click Repair), or, if necessary, by uninstalling and then reinstalling Office XP. However, an administrator may have turned off this capability in some configurations using Group Policy.
Keypaths and components in Keypath.xls
The Microsoft Excel workbook Keypath.xls has a list of the keypath files and registry values associated with Office XP features and components. This file is not available with the installation of the Office XP Resource Kit and was not updated for Office XP. This file is supplied only for informational purposes and is not intended to be used to make modifications to the installation of Office XP on users' computers. You can find this downloadable file on the Office 2000 Resource Kit Downloads page..
Keypath.xls lists Office 2000 features in alphabetical order. For each feature, the workbook includes the following information:
- Feature — Name of a feature used by Office in abbreviated form.
- Component — Components of a feature listed in alphabetical order.
A component can be used by more than one feature.
- Component ID — Globally unique identifier (GUID) added to the Windows registry after a feature using the component is installed.
In the registry, the GUID appears in a compressed format.
- Directory — Folder where the keypath file is stored (if the keypath is a file).
- Keypath — File or registry value used as an indicator for the component.
Note In the Keypath column, some entries begin with the text msorid, which refers to ORAPI registry data. The Keypath.xls workbook does not provide the registry information for these entries.
Limitations of automatic repair
Office XP will not instruct Windows Installer to initiate a repair process in all circumstances. For example:
- When the Windows Desktop Update is not installed.
To enable all the self-repair capabilities of Office XP, the Windows Desktop Update must be installed for older operating systems (the Microsoft Windows® 2000 and Windows Millennium Edition operating systems have this functionality by default). If necessary for Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0 or Windows 98 operating systems, the Desktop Update can be installed by creating a transform for the OSP.msi and setting the InstallDesktopUpdate property in the Modify Setup Properties page of the Custom Installation Wizard to Install the Windows Desktop Update.
- When a component contains more than one file or registry entry, and one of the corrupt or missing files or registry entries is not listed as a keypath.
For example, the Global_Word_Intl component includes two resources — Ww10intl.dll (which is also marked as a keypath) and Email.dot (which is not marked as a keypath). If Ww10intl.dll is missing when Microsoft Word 2002 starts, then Global_Word_Intl is repaired automatically. However, if Email.dot is missing, no repair is triggered.
Do not intentionally corrupt or delete keypath resources to trigger a repair. If you suspect files are corrupt, click Detect and Repair from the Help menu of any Office application, rerun Office Setup in maintenance mode and use the Repair Office option, or uninstall and then reinstall Office XP completely. In a few rare cases where previous installations of Office were installed on the same computer prior to installing Office XP, it may be necessary to uninstall Office using the Office Removal Wizard in order to remove all previous registry entries that may be adversely affecting the current installation. See the topic Customizing Removal Behavior for more information.
More repair issues
The automatic repair feature of Office XP is dependent on the availability of the MSI cached to the user's computer. If the MSI file is deleted, is corrupt, was moved, or is the wrong version for the installed edition of Office, Windows Installer fails to update or correct any faults with the installation. Various error messages appear when this file is not available.
Important To avoid problems with the MSI file, do not delete folders from a hard drive that have a name similer to MSOCACHE. Most likely, the MSI file needed by Office XP and Windows Installer is cached as a hidden file within this folder.
If you are trying to repair an Office installation and you get error messages associated with Windows Installer, we recommend that you uninstall all of Office XP, reboot the computer, and then reinstall Office. Reinstalling Office XP should correct all file problems and most registry problems, and also installs a new cache of the MSI file to the appropriate location on the user's computer.
Note User settings are retained by default and can only be deleted by choice during uninstall. If you are not sure whether the uninstall process will delete user settings, run the Office Profile Wizard or the Save My Settings Wizard to create an OPS file prior to performing the uninstall. After reinstalling Office XP, check to see if user settings were retained. If the user settings are not there, apply the saved OPS file you created by using the Office Profile Wizard or Save My Settings Wizard.
If problems persist, consider removing Office by using the Office Removal Wizard. You can find this downloadable file on the Office XP Resource Kit Downloads page. With this wizard, you can remove files installed during previous installations of Office that may conflict with the current installation. If this fails to correct the problem, check the installation of the operating system and check the disk drive(s). A corrupt installation of Windows can be difficult to detect with versions earlier than Windows XP. Diagnostic and troubleshooting aids are available from the Help menu in most Microsoft Windows-based operating systems.
There are times when RAM can be defective and escape detection during the BIOS scan. As Office loads into memory, some code may load into the defective memory area and become corrupt itself, causing errors. One method of testing this scenario is to load programs that are not Office applications and try out various features. If odd behavior appears with any of these programs, check your RAM. Slowing down the access speed of the RAM (possible on some systems) may correct this problem. If the problem only appears after the computer has been on a long time, it is possible that a thermal defect has occurred in the RAM, motherboard, hard drive, CPU, or network. Turning off the computer, allowing it to cool down (for approximately an hour), and then retesting for this condition will help you identify whether a thermal problem exists.
Note Corrupt or defective installations of Office can be caused by hardware problems and conflicts with other software installed on your computer. Sometimes, your disk may be full (or nearly full) and Office will not install completely. Other times, a defective sector or track on a hard drive will cause problems. To help diagnose these problems, it is recommended to run the Disk Defragmentor utility available from the System Tools folder of the Accessories menu. Running this utility will identify possible problems with your computer and in many cases, it will correct them.
Important In some cases, to correct a defective installation of Office, that at one time was running properly, you may need to run System Restore. System Restore is only available with Microsoft Windows XP and can be found in the System Tools folder of the Accessories menu. If you choose to run System Restore, it will back out any changes to your computer made after a specific "restore point" that may have been created through the installation of another program. You can safely use System Restore to check the configuration of Office at the time of a specific restore point and then revert pack to the current condition of your computer. This will give you important information as to whether or not the installation of new software caused your problem. If you prefer, you can retain the restore point and move forward from that prior installation configuration.