“Something went wrong” fixing a bad Office 365 update

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If you get an error message when installing or updating Office 365 or Office 2019 there’s little help available beyond Microsoft telling you ‘Something went wrong’. What looks like specific error message are general statements that don’t identify the problem.

These troubles aren’t any surprise to experienced Microsoft Office users. Install or update of Office has always been troublesome, with Microsoft unwilling or unable to give customers relevant help.

See The realistic guide to fixing Office 365/Office 2019 update problems

Something went wrong

Office for Windows update error messages tell customers nothing helpful, literally saying “Something went wrong”

something went wrong fixing a bad office 365 update microsoft office 30670 - “Something went wrong” fixing a bad Office 365 update

It’s probably meant to be a friendly heading. That’s OK if what followed was useful and relevant information about the error and how to fix it.  Unfortunately the text isn’t any better than the heading itself.

Broken help link

There’s false hope in the link “Go online for additional help” because it’s broken!

something went wrong fixing a bad office 365 update microsoft office 30671 - “Something went wrong” fixing a bad Office 365 update

Broken web links happen on lots of web sites, but you’d expect Microsoft to ensure such an important page works properly.  Surely the page gets enough hits each day to be highlighted in a Redmond web masters report of ‘404’ pages?  Apparently not.

Admittedly, even when the page is working, it’s not a lot of help.  More broad remarks not specific help for error codes.

Misleading error text

Don’t believe the text in the install/update error dialog. It appears to be an indication of the problem but it’s just generic text that’s not at all customized to the specific problem.

“ … we ran into a problem while downloading updates. Please check your network connection …” suggests it’s an Internet connection problem and not Microsoft’s fault.

That message is often a ‘red herring’.  The real problem is a broken Office installation or something the update software can’t cope with.  Nothing to do with Internet connectivity at all.

That misleading message lures paying customers into wasting time and money chasing a non-existent problem. It also deflects responsibility away from Microsoft.

Useless Error Codes

A Microsoft associate revealed how useless the error codes are:

“Internet connectivity, incomplete installation, and product conflict are a few of the possible reasons why you are getting Office error code 30088-28. “

Those three broad reasons cover a lot of territory and don’t narrow down the problem at all.  It’s no better than ‘Something went wrong’.

Two of those ‘official’ explanations (‘Internet connectivity’ and ‘Product Conflict’) point away from any Microsoft responsibility.

The error code isn’t much use. Microsoft doesn’t have a public list of the error codes, let alone suggestions for fixing that error.  Try web searching for the error codes mostly shows forum posts from other confused and frustrated people.  Because the error message/code is non-specific, the proposed fixes might not help at all.

‘Twas ever thus

For as long as we can remember, Office install/update error codes have been almost useless.  They are too broad and mostly undocumented to the public.

If you think that a specific error code can be linked to a specific fix. we’ve got bad news for you … and a famous bridge to sell at a very reasonable price.

All these error message problems have been around for years in various forms.  It happened with the old .MSI install and continues with the newer ‘Click to Run’ system.

These failures are either deliberate strategy or a corporate weakness.  The presumption seems to be that installation and update work perfectly and when it doesn’t, it must be the customers fault.


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