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Install/Update Errors
Office 2008

If you continue to have problems see:

Dos and Don'ts for a good install
Check List to troubleshoot your install
Steps for a successful upgrade of Office 2008
How to install when you have an upgrade CD of Office and no longer have the original version installed.
Office files were modified. How to check
Microsoft KB: I can't install Office 2008 for Mac updates

Install Errors

  1. Install/Update Fails
    1. There was nothing to update (A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume.)
      1. Check Receipts
    2. Fails to install update - keeps saying Close Word
    3. After I install, AutoUpdate is still telling me I need to update.
    4. All or some Microsoft Office applications are completely missing after applying updater.
    5. Install Failed Errors
    6. Error received during update: "Microsoft Office 2008 Update" doesn't understand the event sysodisA"
    7. Language
      1. The updater only works on the language it was intended for; therefore, if you installed Italian Office, the German updater will not work for it. Because Microsoft uses Apple's Installer the UI will match the UI of your OS so judging which updater you got by the UI of the Installer will not work.
      2. MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGES- If you have multiple language versions of Office on your machine, then you'll want to put the one you wish to update in your Application folder; update it; then either rename it or move it out and put the next language in the Application folder. The Installer will search for Office, and if the first one it finds is a different language than the updater it will not keep searching for copies with the matching language.
  2. Setup Assistant
    1. Office Setup Assistant opens when I try to open an Office 2008 application (loops)
  3. Entourage
    1. Entourage starts upgrading Identity every time it's launched.
    2. Import fails to find identity
    3. Entourage fails to start. It crashes immediately.
    4. Sent emails are labeled as coming from "Test Drive User"
  4. Office database is corrupt after install or update
  5. Safari
    1. After installing Office 2008 fonts in Safari are jumbled and overlapping
    2. Safari downloads append .dot .pot .xla

1) If you get the error "there was nothing to update" you can try this workaround. A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume.

See this page for solutions.

2) If you experience a problem where the updater causes the Setup Assistant to continuously launch...

There are 3 options. see this page for solutions.

3) Install Fails

This error has several causes:

  1. Symptom: Installer just stops and shows a "finished" screen after only 5 minutes. Nothing is installed but a nearly empty folder.....Solution: Check the DVD Player setting re-set it to the max speed.
  2. If you receive this error, quit all applications that are running. Easy way log out/in with Shift key down to disable all startup items. See Apple Security Update blocks Microsoft's update process for more details. Many users are reporting the window showing the "installer script fails" was hidden.
  3. If you see this error, it is an Apple error. Follow steps in #2 above.

  4. When you try to install Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac suite on a Macintosh computer, the installation fails and you receive an "Install failed" error message. This was fixed on the newer DVDs, but if you are re-installing from an original DVD release you will need to note this workaround.


    This issue occurs when the following conditions are true:

    • The Macintosh computer is running MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard)
    • The Languages setting for the International System preference is set to one of the following languages:
      • Traditional Chinese
      • Simplified Chinese
      • Korean
      • Tibetan

      If these conditions are true, Office 2008 for Mac will not install because of a possible conflict between MacOS X 10.5 and files that contain the character å (a-ring). By default, Office 2008 for Mac installation program installs the Norwegian proofing tools package. One of the files in this package has the character å throughout its contents.

      See Microsoft KB for workaround.

3a) Import fails to find identity.

  1. Are your installed copies of Entourage 2004 and Entourage 2008 of the same geographic localization?

    One User reports: I had the same problem when I updated my *Spanish* installation of Entourage 2004 to a new *USA (International)* copy of Entourage 2008. The USA (International) copy of Entourage 2008 could not find the old Identities because the *Spanish* installation of Entourage 2004 translated the file names needed to Spanish.

    The solution was to rename the Identities folders from the old Entourage 2004 installation to their expected USA names.
  2. Is the Identity on the same drive? If you are moving to a new computer, copy the data over. The importer does not like it on a secondary source.
  3. Don't use an alias as the source for import.
  4. Some Entourage X and Entourage 2001 users are finding their Identities grayed out. No known solution other than to manually move over your data.
  5. When the Setup Assistant gets to the identity pane the Setup Assistant will look to the MUD folder for the Entourage database and attempt to read it. If the database is bad, then the Setup Assistant would not be able to move beyond this pane. As long as you can open the old Identity, you can manually move over your data.

3b) Entourage fails to start. It crashes immediately.

Solution: Move the Microsoft User Data folder to the desktop. Re-install Office 2008 from DVD. Run the SP1 upgrade. Move MUD folder back.


4) After installing Office 2008 fonts in Safari are jumbled and overlapping.

This is one of the reasons you should quit all applications when installing. No patch or fix needed. Just restart your machine to rebuild the font cache.

5) After installing Office 2008, Safari downloads append .dot .pot .xla.

Microsoft is working on the issue with Apple. It's pretty much just a cosmetic glitch. You can just select the file name, delete the extra extension, and it will all be fine. You might not even need to delete the extra extension to open and use the document. This seems to be fixed for all users in 12.1.2

6) All or some Microsoft Office applications are completely missing after applying updater.

In most cases, when installation of an update fails part-way through, with the installer either quitting unexpectedly in the accompaniment of an error message or exhibiting an indefinite hang necessitating a force-quit, the result is all or some of the Microsoft Office applications are completely missing.

The only remedy is to re-install Office from your CD and update. FWIW, this is not a MS specific problem. It can happen with any update process.

Tip: I suggest stuffing the Office folder prior to updating in case of problems. Easy to revert to previous install.

7) Sent emails are labeled as coming from "Test Drive User"

Open WORD and click on Word/ Preferences/User Information (Under Personal settings). Make sure your name is shown and not "Office 2004 Test Drive User".

8) After installing Apple Security Update 2008-005 in Leopard, you will get the following error if you do not quit all Microsoft applications before updating.

9) You can also get the error that the Office database is corrupt right after installing or updating.

Often this is bogus error. Simply remove the Microsoft User Data folder from Documents to the Desktop. Let Entourage create a new MUD folder. Then you can drag the contents of the MUD folder on your desktop to the newly created folder.

10) After I install, AutoUpdate is still telling me I need to update.

If you have more than one copy of Office installed, the MAU will look at your other locations and see they are not updated resulting in AutoUpdate telling you that you need to update.

I personally received the error. I installed Office on a volume called "Leopard." I used SuperDuper! to make a sandbox volume and it copied my Office folder to that volume. /Volumes/Sandbox/Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/. I updated Office on my sandbox volume.

Because I had a second copy of Office located at /Volumes/Leopard/Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/ - and I had not updated it yet to 12.1.2, I'm receiving the error.

MAU looked at my first location, and said no update needed here. Then it looked at my second location and saw that it needed an update. Thus the cause for the update to be listed.

Here is how MAU works...

  1. MAU is activated (manually or when the timer goes off if you have it set for automatically)
  2. MAU looks in the com.microsoft.autoupdate2.plist file to see what you have installed (you can open it up and see what you have listed installed – each app that registers with MAU puts its location, version, and language in the file)
  3. Then MAU checks on at the microsoft.com server to see if there are any updates for the applications you have.
  4. When it finds that there is a match (an app you have and an app that needs an update), then it asks the server what is the trigger mechanism for the update.
  5. With the trigger mechanism (MAU uses the version of Microsoft Component Plugin), it checks the location the app said it was installed and sees if the trigger matches the requirements. If so, then it pulls down the update.

11) When I launch Entourage, I immediately get a dialog saying that it's upgrading my identity.

Deleting the Entourage Preference Files in the Microsoft Folder in the User Library Preferences solves the problem for some users. Other fixes:

Option 1: Check for database corruption:

1) Create a new Identity in Entourage.
2) Enter account info and select to "leave on server"
3) Downloads some emails
4) Quit Entourage and see if this Identity does the same upgrading

You could try rebuilding your old Identity if this solves your problem, or you can manually move your data into the new Identity

Option 2: One user reported this fix:

Try deleting the "Entourage" line(s) in the Firewall settings ("Security" system prefs pane). I had to do this for some apps (not only Office apps) in order to bring things back in order.


12) Fails to install update - keeps saying Close Word

One user reported this worked:

1. Ran repair permissions with Disk Utility, then
2. Verified MS Office folder's permissions are set as follows: User: Read & Write; admin: Read & Write and Everyone: Read Only. Permissions should be the same for all contents of that folder. All was OK there.
3. Still had problems after many attempts to install update
4. Gave up. Powered down the computer. Had lunch. Powered up the computer and tried just once more - for the heck of it. Install went as it should.

Power down with a long wait seemed to be the final trick.

Note: Restart before trying to update. All applications need to be quit when installing. Log out/in with Shift key down to disable all applications. You can launch the AutoUpdate from the Help menu in any Office application. Select to keep in dock, then log out/in to quit all. There are hidden applications that can cause the intall/update to fail.

Be sure to read:

Dos and Don'ts for a good install

Steps for a successful upgrade of Office 2008