Microsoft Takes Heat for Office 2003 SP3 File Format Block

Microsoft is facing criticism from a competitor and some customers for its decision to block some older file formats with Office 2003 Service Pack 3, which it released last September. The only non-Microsoft file format that was blocked by Service Pack 3 was CorelDraw .CDR files.

"CorelDraw users can rest assured that they can still use the CorelDraw Graphics Suite normally on a system where Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 has been installed," Gerard Metrallier, Corel's director of graphics product management, said in a statement released Jan. 3. "This update from Microsoft does not impact CorelDraw at all or the capability of opening .CDR files from within CorelDraw or from Windows Explorer," he said. The service pack also blocks some of Microsoft's own file formats, according to a Knowledge Base article the company released that covers the issue.

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5 Comments

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OMG! MS stops support for a 10-14 year old file format!

I mean really. Its OLD! Support WILL be dropped sooner or later. You have to expect newer tech to phase out older tech, its the sacrifice you make for advancement/evolution of programs.

/me waits for the first lawsuit over this.

A file format is not insecure. The issue is that Microsoft is shipping insecure code in Office 2007 and 2003 which may break when these files are opened and allow malicious executable code to run in the user's security context. Rather than fix this insecure code in a shipping product, their policy is to turn off the code and tell the user, "if you want to take the risk, turn it back on, but we won't make it easy."

There was a load of stick given to MS in the comments of TheRegister.co.uk about this, yet if people read the KB it's actually a very small change.

Basicaly pre-Office 97 files are blocked by default. You can get around this using a registry change as stated in the KB. This essentially means that Word for Windows 6.0 files are blocked, as are pre- Office 97 PowerPoint files and older CorelDraw files.

As Corel states, it makes little/no difference to them. And if people still have files that are in a file format 14 years old (Word for Windows 6.0) then a reg change followed by re-saving the document will soon get around that.

Seems reasonable to me to block 14 year old file types that have security issues.

Oh, and Office 2007 has this setup by default too.