Office 2003 update blocks old files

By Justin Mann on January 3, 2008, 11:41 AM
Microsoft has touted themselves many times before as champions of interoperability. They have assured us that they are the most compatible software vendor around. And yet, their latest update for the fairly popular Office 2003 takes a huge step backwards in making everything work. It seems that SP3 for Office 2003 disables the ability to open old versions of Microsoft-formatted documents, ranging from documents created in older versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and others.

Even some fairly new software has its files blocked from Office 2003 as well, such as Word 2004. The reasoning? Security of course. Microsoft cites security concerns over older formats of documents creating a hazard, and for those still wanting to access old files they suggest a registry-hack workaround. A registry modification just to open old files? That seems a bit ridiculous with how big they are on check boxes you'd think it would be trivial for them to include such a feature.

For people and perhaps businesses who have large amounts of documents in older formats, they might end up turning to alternative office suites. This decision from Microsoft seems poorly guided at best.




User Comments: 3

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jhill3d said:
This "issue" is presented when you install the service pack. I guess no one reads it to find out the details of why and how to get around it. Maybe this is something else?[url]http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?fa
ilyid=E25B7049-3E13-433B-B9D2-5E3C1132F206&displaylang=en[
url][url]http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938810[/url]To enable Office 2003 to open files that are saved in previous Excel formats, follow these steps: To enable Office 2003 to open files that are saved in previous PowerPoint formats, follow these steps: To enable Office 2003 to open files that are saved in previous Word file formats, follow these steps:
a1gevaldig said:
Or download openoffice.org to get around it.Its the easy way!
kris_h said:
"Microsoft has touted themselves many times before as champions of interoperability"Is this why spreadsheets created with the MS Works suit (packaged with thousands of new PC's) refuse to open in Excel? I don' know whether Word has the same problem or whether OpenOffice can open Works files, but 2 productivity suites made by the same company cannot open each others files - ridiculous. And not even a downloadable import filter available.
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