Office 2003 SP3 feature-un-ectomy

Looks like MS have heard the howls and are going to provide a simple to use fix to re-enable older file formats on 2003. (ie automating the previously released registry hacks). I wonder if that might make it into 2007 too?

Here is the skinny from everyones fave news site.

I guess the point about OpenOffice and Gnumeric having better backward compatibility with Excel files than Excel 2003 SP3 and Excel 2007 smarted a little.

Fair play to MS for listening, and fixing it (in due course).

So that leaves us with a naming competition and a release date competition.

SP3a? SP3b? SP4? SP3-? SP3.1? SP3.2? KB0937840938?

I’m going to guess SP3a Feb 19th.

What do you reckon?



8 Responses to “Office 2003 SP3 feature-un-ectomy”

  1. Simon Says:

    For some reason this reminds me of my old joinery teacher:
    Cut long – you can always cut more off later – if you cut short you can’t cut more on.
    Seemingly with software you can.

  2. Marcus Says:

    Kee-jerk patching has always been a headache. The buggest I’ve been bitten by is the Outlook security patch some years ago.

    Suddenly overnight my Access databases which collated and emailed spreadsheets via Outlook required human intervention to click a button allowing a program send an email via Outlook. So much for office automation.

    This was also a no rollback patch. If you wanted to remove the patch you had to reinstall from scratch.

  3. Harlan Grove Says:

    Microsoft collectively may appear repentant, but there are a few ‘let them eat cake/let ’em use OOXML’ voices.

  4. Stephane Rodriguez Says:


    …Especially when OOXML is just that, an exclusive way to reliably migrate old files to the newer file format.

    In fact, what Microsoft won’t tell their users is that not only there is no strict OOXML in Office 2007 (Office 2007 documents contain bits that are not documented in OOXML, as my articles have illustrated very well), but that it has already changed due to the ISO steps : for instance, Microsoft is pledging to start using ISO dates from now on instead of their proprietary crap.

    That’s why they exlude competitors from doing the same.

    The irony is that with this Office 2003 SP3 breaking changes, Microsoft has had to FUD itself just to scare their users and try to get them to their band wagon. It has to be reminded that, while OpenOffice among others is a threat, Microsoft’s biggest threat is their install base.

    Hence the exclusivity on the migration algorithms.


  5. Martin Rushton Says:

    Here where I work I need a password for

    The Workstation (PC)
    The Network
    Emial (Outlook)
    The Finance System
    The HR System

    There are a few other central systems that I may potentially need access to, but at the moment don’t, including a room booking system, an inventory (asset register) and being a Uni a student record system.

    There are also a few other things I need to login to including an Intranet portal and a system for adding users to network groups with specific permissions which use the Network userID/password but still need entering again even when logged on/validated to the network.

    Fortunately the workstation and network password can be synchronised into a single log on. Unfortunately with the exception of Outlook all the other passwords force a change every 60 days to a password that hasn’t been used in the last 12 months. This means each system requires at least 7 different passwords within a year. This is as a result of our Audit Committee deciding that this is much more secure than occasional/non existent changes. Even the Sys Admin guy responsible for controlling the policy has argued until he is blue in the face that it isn’t more secure as, with so many passwords to remember, and a lock out after 3 failed attempts, most users resort to Simon’s method of writing it down (in breech of the usage policy) or, as in my case, have root passwords which are changed very slightly every 60 days. However as I still have to remember the very small change it wouldn’t take Einstein to work out the pattern I use for that change.

    Despite insisting the policy is more secure the same audit committee will not entertain the concept of electronic signature therefore an email can not be considered as authorisation and much of the work in the Finance and HR systems still require additional paperwork with a handwriten signature.

    Rumour is that they are softening on the electronic signature but as rumours of a single log-on to all systems the user has access to are likely to soon turn to reality I’m not holding my breath. At least the latter will finally be a step in the right direction (it was first talked about over 5 years ago)

  6. Martin Rushton Says:

    oops hiccup there. Could have sworn I posted this in password expired. Apologies.

  7. Martin Rushton Says:

    Simon superglue or no more nails will now sort the cut too much off ;-)

    Meanwhile back at the ranch Excel-L listers now appear to have realised M$ has cut them off in their prime with 2003SP3 and 2007 preventions.

  8. Harlan Grove Says:


    Note in the second paragraph that the older formats could wreak havoc with Excel VIEWER! Either this is pure BS or there’s something REALLY WRONG with the Microsoft code that loads spreadsheet files into memory.

    If this is due to maliciously formed binary blobs, and the XML formats could still contain binary blobs, why should anyone expect that the CODE used to load XML spreadsheet files would be safer than that used to load binary files? And when will Microsoft start blocking files in the new .XLSB format?

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