Office 2003 bug locks users out of files

As posted on Technologizer, a bug has been reported by many companies using Microsoft Office 2003, causing protected files to become inaccessible. Microsoft's Rights Management Service, a technology used to control access to sensitive documents, was found to be locking files from use. When trying to open a document protected by RMS, users would receive an error telling them to contact their system administrator.

The bug was found to be present in Office 2003's Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word; Office 2007 and 2010 are in the clear. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, the bug was caused by an expired Information Rights Management (IRM) certificate. Microsoft has released hotfix for the bug and has posted it here.

RMS is a way for companies to encrypt and selectively limit access to documents and specific actions within them. Companies can use it to set usage rights and permissions through policies embedded directly into the files themselves. It can be used to decide what groups can decrypt them, under what conditions decryption is allowed to occur, whether a user is allowed to print, copy, edit, or do other actions within the files, and many other things. The technology is only usable with RMS-enabled applications, such as Office, SharePoint, and Internet Explorer.

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44 Comments

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Well, that's kind of a big deal. I appreciate the article so that I can make sure that no one is having this issue that I deal with. I regularly send people protected files.

I have a simular issue where office 2003, word mainly, locks up. The system is fine by word is unresponsive. Problem seems to get slightly better after updating office 03.

greenwizard88 said,
Why is old news about a problem that was fixed, front page material?

Stop whining.
GreyWolfSC said,
Both the source article and the TechNet blog entry are from Friday. That's not old or a week. :/

The ribbon is perfectly usable, and if you take somebody who has no prior knowledge of the previous version and asked them to choose which version they preferred, I think you'll find most people would prefer the Office 2007 interface.

People are just afraid of change and learning something new. Once you learn where everything is, Office 2007 is just easier to use than Office 2003. Options are more logically grouped, the various icons make it easier to find the command you're after, and all the preview functions that let you preview say a table style by just hovering over it are just genius.

TCLN Ryster said,
The ribbon is perfectly usable, and if you take somebody who has no prior knowledge of the previous version and asked them to choose which version they preferred, I think you'll find most people would prefer the Office 2007 interface.

People are just afraid of change and learning something new. Once you learn where everything is, Office 2007 is just easier to use than Office 2003. Options are more logically grouped, the various icons make it easier to find the command you're after, and all the preview functions that let you preview say a table style by just hovering over it are just genius.

------
But if you take somebody who has a prior knowledge of the previous version, believe me, its a nightmare.. they've maintained almost a similar UI approach for a long time, and users got very used to it.. I think.

MS should have included and option to switch between the ribbon and traditional menus. Being a power office user, I find the ribbon UI terrible.

^ switching back to menus ,will remove most of the advantages of new release.

you may as well stick with office 2003.

Ci7 said,
^ switching back to menus ,will remove most of the advantages of new release.

you may as well stick with office 2003.

Well, there were a lot of changes in the backend as well. It wasn't just a pretty ribbon put over the old code base.

As for the Ribbon, I myself like it, but I do know a number of people that don't. Microsoft Office Labs has a "Search" add on for Office 2007 that lets you search for controls that you might not be able to find right off the bat. It's very helpful for people getting used to the Ribbon and I recommend it. It even comes useful for me sometimes.

Ryoken said,
Office 2003 dominates the business world.. Anyone who thinks otherwise it diluting themselves..

"diluting themselves"....hehehe ROFL!

I think you mean deluding.

Here in New Zealand Office 2003 is still the most common version of Office installed, I would be surprised if it wasn't the case in many other countries. In the corporate world there is little reason to move to office 2007.

Here in New Zealand Office 2003 is still the most common version of Office installed, I would be surprised if it wasn't the case in many other countries. In the corporate world there is little reason to move to office 2007.

Office 2003 is still the last decent version of office that MS released. They publically admit this too on the '03 > 07 transition' site whereby it clearly states "Many options in office 2003 do not have an equilivent option in office 2007"

n_K said,
Office 2003 is still the last decent version of office that MS released. They publically admit this too on the '03 > 07 transition' site whereby it clearly states "Many options in office 2003 do not have an equilivent option in office 2007"

bull****. Nothing was removed at all. In fact, with some application you can enable the classic menu structure aswell.

n_K said,
Office 2003 is still the last decent version of office that MS released. They publically admit this too on the '03 > 07 transition' site whereby it clearly states "Many options in office 2003 do not have an equilivent option in office 2007"


You, sir, are trolling.

You also put that statement in quotes, as though it was taken verbatim. Which according to Google and Bing, it is not. As Ambroos says, nothing was removed. Only UI sections were removed.

n_K said,
They publically admit this too on the '03 > 07 transition' site whereby it clearly states "Many options in office 2003 do not have an equilivent option in office 2007"

Linky McLink

Office 2003 is very limiting, productivity wise. I've found the newer versions to be much easier to use. Especially Access.

Yes, many corporations, because Office 2007 is such a big step.

Staff retraining costs, etc... ;)

Besides, it's officially supported by Microsoft, so this discussion is really besides the point.

I think some even just recently moved to Office 2003. Some are slow beasts. You need to count in the ~ two year "trial period" into these product rollouts... *sigh*

The Ribbon is hardly that hard to use, and it actually lets you find features few probably even knew were there from the get go. They could always just do a slow rollout on the client side since 2007 will handle and work just fine with 2003 files, those that can't seem to work fine in 2007 or need more time can stick to 2003 for now, those that can make the jump fast can move to 2007.

I don't see why a hybrid wouldn't work, why wait to get everyone in one big move?

The whole retraining aspect has been blown out of all proportion. All the often used commands are right there on the main default ribbon menu, and Microsoft released three very easy to use tools that help users to find commands.

The tool shows you the menu bars and toolbars of Office 2003. You select the command you're trying to find, then the tool fades out to the Office 2003 ribbon and highlights exactly where that command is.

Retraining required = ZERO.

Besides, hands up who had training on how to use Office 2003 and previous? No, me neither. Office 2007 may take a week or so of getting used to, but its not like you'll suddenly be unable write a document, or update data in a spreadsheet. Corps using "retraining" as an excuse for not deploying Office 2007 are clearly covering up for other inadequacies... like the "can't be arsed" syndrome.

"Who is using office 2003?"
I was so expecting the first comment on Neowin to be this before I started reading the comments. :-P LOL I guess I have begun to understand the average Neowiner's IQ.

Well I dunno about the IQ, but there seems to be a number of vocal people on NeoWin that seem to believe most people have the newest release of their software such as OS and productivity suites.

.***X That is a huge reason not to move a little at a time. The new format make you install FileFormatConverters.exe which is easily over looked causing fires that need to be put out and frustration among staff.

still1 said,
Who is using office 2003? I have stopped using it long time ago.


You did. I did too. Many of us did. What you have to taken into account is that for companies there is a difference. For one thing, it's the cost. You have to buy and install it. Also you will need to train your staf. Why would you do this when the old Office still does what you want.
But there is another reason you might not (yet) migrate: Many companies have other applications that work with office. If you look at Acrobat Pro, you'll see that it integrates with Office. Many companies have custom builed applications that work with Office. Many of these applications need to be adapted before they can work with a new Office version. And of course these upgrades aren't free or cheap...