DON'T install the new Office 2003 Service Pack - yet.


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In the name of ‘security’ some features of Office 2003 are disabled upon installing Service Pack 3 – a cheap shortcut by Microsoft to save themselves the bother of making a real fix. Some of them might not trouble you but others could be an unexpected ‘surprise’.

Microsoft has released a new Service Pack for Office 2003 – if you believe their blurb the update is just a bundle of part updates plus some new security fixes.

Behind that bland description are some real problems for Office 2003 users. In the name of ‘security’ some features of Office 2003 are disabled upon installing Service Pack 3 – a cheap shortcut by Microsoft to save themselves the bother of making a real fix. Some of them might not trouble you but others could be an unexpected ‘surprise’.

So Office Watch is back to its old job of digging into an Office service pack to see what’s going on. As has happened too many times before, the documentation is limited, confusing and, at times, contradictory.

If you use the Microsoft Update service or have Windows Vista, then you’ll be offered SP3 as a new update without any direct warning of the downside.

We strongly recommend you do NOT install Office 2003 Service Pack 3 – at least not yet. Peter is working deciphering the glyphs of Microsoft documentation and will report in a future Office Watch.

In the meantime, just ignore any prompts to install Office 2003 Service Pack 3 – if you have Service Pack 2 plus later security patches then waiting a week or two should not be a major problem.

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