Cumulative update for Office 2003: where, when and what?


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If you get confused by the documentation for Office updates, don’t think it’s your fault, some of the Microsoft’s documentation is very poor. Just one exhibit is a recent article about a cumulative update for Office 2003.

If you get confused by the documentation for Office updates, don’t think it’s your fault, some of the Microsoft’s documentation is very poor. Just one exhibit is a recent article about a cumulative update for Office 2003.

Cumulative updates are a bundling of the interim fixes and security updates for Office into a single download – starting recently they are scheduled to come out every second month. Each cumulative update has all hotfixes since the last full Office Service Pack. They are intended as a convenience for larger customers who can push out these updates to their many Office users.

But before you apply such a patch you’d like to know what issues are dealt with in the update. Only then can you tell if the update is relevant to you or might affect existing programs or add-ins.

Which brings us to KB 957023 “Description of the August 2008 cumulative update package for Office 2003 Service Pack 3 ” (Revision 1.1 dated 28 August 2008 is copied below) and it’s very similar cousin for Office 2007.

It’s over 500 words and tells you almost nothing. To call it a ‘description’ in the title is wholly misleading. This article looks like someone has copied the text from similar articles in the past and published it without considering if the text is applicable any more.

There is no description or link to the individual hotfixes included in the update – you have no idea what will be patched. That’s even stranger because you’re told to “test hotfixes before you deploy them in a production environment” – how can you do that if you’re not told what the fixes are?

A further recommendation is to only apply the update to systems experiencing ‘these’ specific problems – what problems? Again, there are no problems or fixes listed by Microsoft.

There’s no link to a download of the cumulative update (even if you knew what it contained). The generic text tells you to look for a link at the top of the article, if there’s no link to contact Microsoft Support.

Aside from the time, trouble and cost of contacting MS support – what can you say when you call? Normally updates limited to an ‘on request’ basis from Microsoft are only released if the customer can identify a specific problem – and a customer can’t do that because there’s no detail in the August 2008 cumulative update.

Another sign of the article being a bit of cloned text is this gem:

we recommend that you wait for the next Office 2003 service pack that contains the hotfixes in this cumulative update package.”

It’s very unlikely there will be another service pack for Office 2003 -Microsoft staff have confirmed that Service Pack 3 is the last full update for Office 2003. Microsoft might change their mind but it’s unlikely.

You might think that this is part of Microsoft’s ongoign campaign to push all Office 2003 customers to Office 2007 – but there’s a similar article with almost the same wording for Office 2007 users.





Description of the August 2008 cumulative update package for Office 2003 Service Pack 3

Article ID : 957023

Last Review : August 28, 2008

Revision : 1.1

On This Page

INTRODUCTION

This article describes the August 2008 cumulative update package for Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3).

Microsoft Office 2003 hotfixes are created for specific Office 2003 service packs. By default, any hotfix that is provided in an Office 2003 service pack is included in the next Office 2003 service pack. You must apply Office 2003 SP3 to the release version installation of Office 2003.

The August 2008 cumulative update package contains hotfixes for the Office 2003 issues that have been resolved since the release of Office 2003 Service Pack 3.

We recommend that you test hotfixes before you deploy them in a production environment. Because the builds are cumulative, each new update package contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included in the previous Office 2003 update package. We recommend that you consider applying the most recent update package that contains these hotfixes.

Note One cumulative hotfix package includes all the component packages. The cumulative update package updates only those components that are installed on the system.

MORE INFORMATION

How to obtain the August 2008 cumulative update package for Office 2003 Service Pack 3

A supported cumulative update package is now available from Microsoft. However, it is intended to correct only the applications that are described in this article. Apply it only to systems that are experiencing these specific problems. This cumulative update package may receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by any of these problems, we recommend that you wait for the next Office 2003 service pack that contains the hotfixes in this cumulative update package.

If the cumulative update is available for download, there is a “Hotfix download available” section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, submit a request to Microsoft Online Customer Services to obtain the cumulative update package.

Note If additional issues occur or any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific cumulative update package. To create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support)

Note The “Hotfix Download Available” section and the online request forms display the languages for which the cumulative update is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a cumulative update package is not available for that language.

Cumulative update package information

Prerequisites

You must have Office 2003 SP3 installed to install this update package.

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

932728 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/932728/) How to obtain the latest service pack for Office 2003

Restart requirement

You may have to restart the computer after you apply this update package.

Registry information

To use one of the hotfixes in this package, you do not have to make any changes to the registry.

APPLIES TO

Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3, when used with:

Microsoft Office 2003 Personal Edition

Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003

Microsoft Office Professional Enterprise Edition 2003

Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003

Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003

Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003

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