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Old 08-07-2014, 10:03 PM
Clairvaux Clairvaux is offline Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Windows 7 64bit Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Office 2003
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Default Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ?

I'm planning to do a clean reinstall of my system from Windows up, because it has become sluggish and unresponsive.

I have a home-built PC with an OEM version of Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, and a French Standard Edition of Office 2003 for Students and Teachers, both with the original discs and product keys.

However, since Office 2003 support has officially ended last April, I'm wondering whether I might get stuck in a situation where I would not be able to install it again, or make it run properly in the future.

Specifically :

I have read some horror stories of users trying to reinstall Office 2003 recently, and being met with a message that they have made too many activations (this not being true in some cases), and that they need to activate by telephone. However, the telephone number answers that it cannot be used for that software anymore.

Is Microsoft pulling the rug under legitimate buyers' feet and silently changing its activation rules in order to force people to upgrade ?



Also, I understand that there won't be any more updates to Office 2003, which opens in theory a security risk. I'm willing to run that risk. However, will I be able, at least, to bring my copy back to its April 2014 updated state ?

Microsoft is not clear about this. Its site suggests that it won't be possible, however there are still plenty of updates available for manual download. Office Watch does not seem overly concerned, and advises to grab Service Pack 3, just in case (which I did).

Will the automatic update feature work to build up again a patched end-of-life Office 2003 ? Will I have to pick and choose at random among hundreds of updates to be applied manually? Is SP 3 the freshest state, and would I have to add anything to it ?

I'd really be very angry if my copy of Office 2003 was rendered useless. I've invested a lot into it (learning, books, customization, etc), I don't have any money to burn, and besides I'm under the impression that the newer versions, not only bring very little improvement on what I have, but significantly destroy some of Office 2003 usability through the ribbon, greyish fonts for menus, and an interface which is strong on aesthetics and poor in readability.

Finally, is there a way to make a backup of that precious Office disk ?

Thanks for your insight.
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:46 PM
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macropod macropod is offline Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Windows 7 32bit Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Office 2010 32bit
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It is quite safe to reinstall Office 2003. The activation issue only comes into play if Office has been installed on more PCs than the licence allows. Reinstalling on the same PC multiple times does not impact the activation entitlement.

Since you have the original media, all it takes to make a backup is to insert it into a CD/DVD drive and copy the files to another disc (of any kind).

As for SP3, there were many patches released after that. If you install SP3 on a new system, Windows update should soon alert you to all the updates it needs to bring SP3 up-to-date. You could then download those updates.
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:45 AM
Clairvaux Clairvaux is offline Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Windows 7 64bit Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Office 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macropod View Post
It is quite safe to reinstall Office 2003.
Thank you, Macropod. That's quite a relief.

Based on Microsoft statements or past practices, would you say that it will remain so in the future ? That is, is it likely that Microsoft would change activation rules or availability of automatic updates up to the end-of-life date, this time possibly unannounced ?

After all, the product is officially unsupported now, so they could pull this plug as well anytime. I suppose there's no way to "save" the updated state of Office (or the updates themselves) before wiping the disc clean.
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Old 08-08-2014, 03:41 PM
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macropod macropod is offline Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Windows 7 32bit Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Office 2010 32bit
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AFAIK, you can still install versions going back as far as Office 97, and possibly earlier, if you have a system that they're compatible with. That's to be expected, because the Licence agreement provides the licensee with a contractual right to use the product forever. Accordingly, I'd be surprised if MS decided to void those licenses just because it no longer supports the products. Besides, doing so for such old products with such a small user base would cause MS more grief and loss of goodwill than it'd be worth.

Although you can't really "save" the updated state of Office, you can download all the updates, instead of just installing them, so you can redo the installation exercise later on without going through Windows update. And, of course, if you do a complete image backup of your pristine reinstallation once Windows and Office are fully updated, then you can use that image next time to recreate the pristine state in far less time than it takes to go through reinstalling Windows and all the apps & their updates.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:16 PM
Clairvaux Clairvaux is offline Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Windows 7 64bit Is it safe to reinstall Office 2003 from scratch now that support has ended ? Office 2003
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I image both my system and data drives everyday with Macrium Reflect Professional, so I like this solution better.

Glad to know it's possible in theory to download updates manually, save them and re-apply them later, but it seems like a daunting task. You'd have to identify those which are unnecessary because they were superseded by more comprehensive, later updates, you'd have to not miss a single one, apply them in the right order, deal with possible update bugs without MS support, do that with tens of different downloads (maybe hundreds ?)...

Just as you dispelled my paranoia, I found myself between a rock and a hard place again, with ZD Net fearmongering towards Office 2003 diehards as soon as a year ago, and expert users of modern versions spreading Ribbon Hate in a learned discussion that I failed to bookmark. Oh, well.

Thanks again for helping, and best regards to your furry mates.
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Old 08-09-2014, 08:51 PM
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Your concerns about applying updates are seriously overstated. For starters, the only updates Office would offer after a fresh install and update to SP3 are those that are still required to bring your system up to date. It wouldn't offer any pre-SP3 updates or updates that have subsequently been superseded. So, provided you download only those files there shouldn't be an issue. As for the update order, that is inconsequential in most cases; the few for which it matters will let you know if you try to install them before all their prerequisites have been met.

FWIW, you could also use the MS Slipstream tool to merge those updates into an SP3+ installation file (i.e. next time you install, use the Slipstream version to install both SP3 and its updates all in one go). For details, see, for example: http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-...streamer.shtml
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