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IT admins run into trouble with Microsoft Office 2003 SP3

IT shops may be eager to download Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3), which includes many of the security enhancements found in the 2007 release, but don’t expect a smooth deployment process. Judging from the chatter of IT administrators on Shavlik Technologies’ Patch Management email forum, people are already running into problems.

Susan Bradley, a Microsoft MVP and IT administrator at Tamiyasu, Smith, Horn and Braun Accountancy Corp. in Fresno, Calif., forwarded a long list of issues IT pros need to watch out for, including these examples:

— After you install a Microsoft Office service pack, you are prompted unexpectedly to restart the computer.

— After you install Office 2003 SP3, an add-in, ActiveX control, or COM add-in may not work as expected in an Office 2003 program.

— After you install Office 2003 SP3, you may receive an error message when you try to create a new MAPI form in Outlook 2003.

— After you install Office 2003 SP3, attachments that contain the .gadget extension cannot be opened in Outlook 2003.

One annoyed IT pro wrote, “How do you release a service pack with as many known problems as that?????????”

Another asked, “So do we wait for SP4 to come out to fix the issues that SP3 created?”

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These issues have already been identified in one or more MS KBs. Rebooting is a fact of [Windows] Life. :-) Can't open a .gadget file? Oh well. Affects just the few that are running Vista. You can undo this in the registry. The MAPI problem may be an issue but the COM issue may be greater.
The biggest problem I have is that after the install MS Office 2003 will no longer open older version files. (IE: Word, Excel, Corel, Powerpoint) One has to do a registry change to create a new Key and String (KB 922849)to point to a specific folder that has to be created for saving older files. SP3 Cannot be uninstalled. Frankly....I'm sick of Microsoft using the end user as it's testers. Why can't they get it at least close to right before the release?