How to uninstall Office 2007 Service Pack 2

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How to get rid of SP2 if it’s causing a problem.

Office 2007 Service Pack 2 is the first Office SP that you can uninstall but it’s not at all easy or obvious.

The uninstall tool is a command line tool – you read that right and yes, we are in the 21st Century.

The tool is designed to remove all trace of Service Pack 2 in one hit for all Office programs – even if they were patched separately.

Office Watch has a list of Service Pack 2 downloads, in addition to the main SP2 download for Office 2010 there are separate SP2 patches for Visio 2007, Sharepoint Designer 2007, Project 2007, InterConnect 2007 plus proofing tools, language packs and more. ALL these SP2 patches will be removed by the uninstall tool, there’s no way to uninstall SP2 for a single product; it’s all or nothing.

The uninstall tool will restore Office 2007 to its pre-Service Pack 2 state.  We suggest running Windows/Microsoft Update after the uninstall tool to see if there are any non-SP2 patches that need reinstallation.

The basic step-by-step instructions are available here.

For all the details, including log options go here.

Color us cynical but we have doubts that the SP2 uninstall tool will work reliably in all situations. We’d not be surprised to hear of problems.

A known bug relates to the SP2 update to Proofing Tools for Kazakh which are left on a computer when you uninstall the rest of Office 2007 SP2.  This problem was known to Microsoft before SP2 was released, the company merely says “Unless you are experiencing a problem with that particular update, it will not do any harm to leave it.” but there’s no workaround given so you have to live with it.  See KB969896

If the Office 2007 Service Pack 2 uninstall tool doesn’t do the job for you, you’ll have to fall back on the tried and true method of undoing an Office service pack i.e. totally uninstall Office then re-install Office 2007, apply Service Pack 1 and such other post-SP1 updates as you wish.

We’re obliged to Office Watch reader Franc from the Netherlands who has used the uninstall tool after striking a bug in SP2 (more on that later). His report:

  • Why is it a separate command line tool which you must specifically download? It would have been much nicer if it was integrated in the Add/Remove Software (XP/2003) or Programs and Features (Vista/Windows 7) Control Panel applet and click on ‘Remove’ from that one.
  • On my lab machines I had only Outlook 2007 installed from the Office 2007. After using the uninstall tool I ended up with Excel 2007 also suddenly installed. I only noticed this until I double clicked on a .xls file from Explorer, it launched Excel 2007. There might be a slight chance that SP2 caused Excel 2007 to be installed but I think that isn’t the case and I blame the uninstall tool.
  • It takes quite a while to uninstall SP2, on my machines it was about 15-20 minutes.
  • After the uninstall office was still functional and only SP2 was uninstalled. It looks like all post-SP1 fixes were still installed. That is, Windows Update didn’t pop-up that it needed to install additional updates.
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