Times Article 023
month, I discussed whether you are ready for Windows 2000. This month,
I’m going to bring you my personal experiences on installing and
using Office 2000. The
nicest thing I can say about these experiences is, “If the upgrade
to Windows 2000 is as ‘easy’ to do as Office 2000, then we’re in
a lot of trouble!”
me start with my first installation of the shipping version of Office
2000 Standard in a client’s office in early July. The install was
done on a Compaq server running Windows NT 4.0 Server and Service Pack
5. Although the server was a somewhat underpowered Pentium 60 with 32
MB RAM and a 2 GB hard-drive, it did meet Microsoft’s standards for
upgrading the client’s Office 97, and with only three computers
connected to the server, I didn’t expect a network overload.
installation started out with a series of questions on what I wanted
to install, and I took all the defaults except that I specified that
the old programs should be retained. The installation went painfully
slowly, taking 52 minutes to complete. What worried me is that I
received four separate error messages during the install, including
one DLL, one INF, and two OCX errors. As there didn’t appear to be
any reason for the errors, I chose to manually copy the DLL and OCX
files into the SYSTEM32 subdirectory.
the procedure then called for a system reboot, I carefully read the
install screens which appeared after login, and found an error message
for each of the manually-copied files. At that point, I picked up the
phone and called Microsoft Technical Support. As any of you who have
had to call Microsoft know, the wait is interminable, and a technician
answered after “only” 22 minutes. I explained all the errors,
confirmed that I had previously disabled all the virus checkers, and
waited to be enlightened.
an embarrassing 30-45 seconds, the technician mumbled that he
couldn’t find any of those error messages at all. This left me without
a warm, fuzzy feeling, and I asked what he suggested. A minute later,
I was speaking with a second-level technician who quickly accessed
TechNet, only to find that, indeed, the error messages weren’t
listed at all. Being a bit more persistent this time, I asked him to
do a bit of research while I waited on hold. Eight minutes later, even
the second-level tech was mumbling, this time that the error messages
were related to a Microsoft Publish error. Unfortunately, my client
had never installed Publish....
a hastily-gathered meeting of the minds at his office, the tech told
me to reinstall the entire program, gave me a case number, and told me
to call back if the errors reoccurred. To make a frustrating
experience a bit shorter, to my vast relief the errors did not recur,
and the server quickly popped up Word 2000, Excel 2000, and PowerPoint
2000. However, although I had carefully specified in the original
install that Office 2000 was to be run from the server, each of the
workstations required installation of the entire Windows installer.
although my first installation did not leave me with a very good taste
of things to come, my real nightmare started when I finally
received my dealer copy of Office 2000 Premium.
my in-house network at CATI is a bit more sophisticated than my
client’s, with a dual Pentium Pro 200 server, 256 MB RAM, and nearly
30 GB of mass-storage. We also run NT 4.0 Server with Service Pack 5,
along with quite a few other Microsoft network and database products,
and seldom have any downtime at all. So I expected few installation
problems this time. Boy, was I wrong!!
the installation procedure was a bit more convoluted, and I spent
around 30 minutes customizing my install. The first part of the
installation went smoothly, and the second configuration portion
began. However, at that point, the installation process-bar (the GUI
that shows something is still happening) turned from its usual blue to
a dull grey color. Nothing I could do would return it to its active
state, so I brought up Norton CrashGuard and told it to Anti-Freeze
the process. The process promptly disappeared completely. And nothing
I could do would even persuade the CD-ROM to start up again.
for the welfare of our busy server, I decided to try the install again
on a standalone Pentium 200 that I keep for exactly this type of
problem. It has 128 MB RAM, 12 GB hard-drive, and runs a very basic
version of Windows 95. As before, the installation proceeded nicely
until the second configuration portion began, and the exact same grey-out
of the process-bar occurred. After rebooting, I was able to get the
install going again, and even my customization settings were still
there. But I could never get past that same point.
this time, it was 7 PM on a Friday evening, well past the time when
Microsoft was available by telephone, at least without an expensive
service contract. So I browsed over to the well-documented Web site
for troubleshooting. Well-documented it was, well set up it was not.
Office 2000 didn’t appear anywhere on that part of the site.
If my problem had been with Word 1.0, I probably could have gotten an
answer, but not Microsoft’s Office 2000.
was fairly frustrated at this point, and accessed Microsoft’s
private dealer Web site. Same problem; nothing was listed at all that
referred to Office 2000. I ran a number of searches, and finally (40
minutes later) located an Office 2000 page that allowed me to place a
trouble call with a technician. Uh-huh, sure. The first thing this
page demanded was the Product Code. Unfortunately, you do not get a
Product Code until the product has been installed.... And of course
the page wouldn’t let me one bit past that point. So with complete
disgust, I shut everything down, and headed out for a well-earned
and early Monday morning, I was on the phone with yet another
Microsoft level-two technician. This one was smart enough to know he
couldn’t handle my problem, and immediately connected me with a
level-three specialist. The good news is that this technician was able
to help me resolve the installation problem; the bad news is that he
didn’t know why it happened. But I’ll share with you
how he got my system up and running.
browse over to http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork
and download the Resource Kit Toolbox. These tools give you a
LOT more information than Microsoft included in the “Discovering
Microsoft Office 2000" user guide, which is essentially zero.
shut down everything running in the background. The easiest way
to do that is to press Ctrl-Alt-Del and choose End Task for all items
in the list except for Explorer and Systray, one at a time. This will
disable your virus protection, so be careful with any other tasks
until you have rebooted. You may have to do this several times when
Office 2000 reboots your machine.
determine whether you are going to install Office 2000 on a standalone
machine, a server, or a client machine connected to a server. If your
computer is standalone, and will never be connected to a
server, then install Office 2000 using the standard setup routine. If
you’re installing on a server, then you MUST install using the
following: d:\setup /a where d: is your CD-ROM. If on a client
machine, then use: d:\setup /jm . If you don’t use these
switches, you will NOT be able to run any of the Office 2000 programs
as a client from the server without a complete reinstall!
if your initial install fails for any reason, here are the actions
that Microsoft will have you do:
Reboot, and shut off all background programs
Insert CD #1 and hold down the Shift key so that Office 2000 does not
Using Explore, locate SETUP.EXE in the d:\IE5 subdirectory, and
double-click to install IE5; if you’re a Netscape user, as I am,
just choose the Minimum install (not that it listens)
Reboot again (you may not have a choice), and again shut down all
Go through the installation procedure again
If you get still another install failure, then things get really
Start by rebooting into MS-DOS mode - NOT a DOS window
Change directory to c:\windows\system
Rename three DLL files (ODBCCP32.DLL, ODBCJT32.DLL, ODBCINT.DLL) by
changing their suffixes to .OLD (i.e., ren odbccp32.dll odbccp32.old)
Then delete the following files: MSIEXEC.EXE, MSIHNA.DLL, MSI.DLL,
CABINET.DLL, MSPATCHA.DLL, SHFOLDER.DLL, IMAGEHLP.DLL, RICHED20.DLL,
MSLS31.DLL, and USP10.DLL, and empty the Recycle Bin
Reboot, and browse over to http://www.microsoft.com/data/download.htm;
scroll down to where you see Microsoft Data Access Components 2.1
(you’ll see more details after that number)
Follow the instructions to download the new MDAC drivers, and download
and install them (that second install failure indicates that your ODBC
drivers won’t work with Office 2000)
Reboot, and repeat steps 1,4, and 5
any luck, your Office 2000 install will now go as “smoothly” as you
should expect it to. You can then delete the three files that you
renamed. Just remember that if you have a Office 2000 multi-CD set, you
MUST shut down all background programs -- or you may be doing this whole
thing all over again!!
Netscape users, don’t be surprised when you double-click on your
Netscape icon and Internet Explorer 5 pops up instead. Don’t get mad,
just use Add/Remove Programs in your Control Panel to completely remove
IE5 (which will cause another reboot, by the way). I also removed
Outlook 2000 - which I had carefully NOT installed when I installed IE5
- so that my Eudora Pro would work again.
have installed tens of thousands of programs in my 30+ years in the
computer field, and I definitely feel that Microsoft has done everyone a
huge disservice by making Office 2000 such a major pain to install. I
personally have several Microsoft certifications, and if I
find a basic installation to be difficult, then it’s likely that many
of you will also find it so. Maybe a few of us should send some e-mails
to Microsoft to see if they have a response; the level-three specialist
I spoke with said that he wished that he “had written the manual so
that it would be more useful.” Let me know if you have any success if
you do contact Microsoft, but don’t hold your breath waiting, either.
you next month.