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Error: "there was nothing to update"

A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume.


  1. Finder is not updating the Desktop Database
  2. Log in as admin user to update.
  3. Fail to restart between install and upgrade [IMPORTANT]
  4. You can try this workaround
  5. You can also get this error if you have
    1. modified Office or your system as described here.
    2. have an external hard drive plugged in
    3. having Parallels software running
    4. The updater also fails if you move the MAU2.0 folder and put it in your Applications folder.
  6. You downloaded the wrong updater
  7. Permissions are preventing updater
  8. Users that have modified their soundsets could cause Entourage not to update
  9. Unofficial fix...this modifies the installer
  10. Fails to update- keeps saying "Close Word"
  11. Check your receipts
  12. Use command line to install

1) Workaround:

  1. Launch the updater
  2. Open the update.dmg and copy it's contents (the update installer app) to your desktop.
  3. Eject the update.dmg virtual disk that was mounted when you opened the update.dmg and also make sure your Office DVD is ejected (if it was in).
  4. Run the update installer application that's on your desktop.

2) If you have modified files

Most failures to update are a result of modified files or other user changes. See Dos and Don'ts for a good install.

Check you install here to see if Office has been modified.

Fix when you have modified files:

  1. Quit all Microsoft applications (Easy way: log out/in with Shift key down to disable any startup items.)
  2. Drag the Microsoft Office 2008 folder to the Trash.
    1. Empty Trash.
  3. Reinstall Office 2008 from your original installation disk. See details
    1. Restart
    2. Update
    3. Restart (restarting before you launch any app is important!)
    4. Repair Permissions

3) Fail to restart between install and upgrade can result in a failed update

There are certain parameters to what will upgrade (name, location, and items in the folder have to remain the same as installed). If you install and then immediately upgrade without restarting then the update may fail (...usually fails on Tiger. It will not always fail and it will not always pass on Leopard.) Best Advice: restart and be safe. Log into your User account with Shift key down to disable all startup items including the hidden ones like the Microsoft Database daemon.

4) You downloaded the wrong file:

Update version numbering 12.1.0 and 12.0.1 are apparently confusing some users trying to update to Office for Mac SP1 via Mactopia Downloads.

If you receive this error, be sure you have downloaded the correct updater.

You cannot install Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac 12.0.1 Update on this volume. A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume.

All will be fine if you make sure that you download this file: (this is English version name)

File Name: Office2008-1210UpdateEN.dmg
Version: 12.1.0
Date Published: 5/13/2008

5) Permissions are preventing update

Some users are reporting permissions problems resulted in the error "You cannot install Office 2008 12.1.1 Update on this volume. A version of the software required to install this update was not found on this volume."

  1. You need to repair permissions with Disk Utility, then
  2. Make sure that the 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.
  3. Another option is to move all MS preference files to the desktop temporarily, then run the installer. Restore the preferences to their original location after installation.
  4. One user reported: I added one more step to the process: I ran DiskWarrior after repairing permissions with Disk Utility. I had been encountering the error message when trying the 12.1.0 SP1 Update.

IMPORTANT: Quit all running applications before installing or updating! Be sure to restart after each update.

6) UNOFFICIAL FIX: Andrew Murton posted this unofficial fix. Use with caution!
A similar fix that just deleted two lines is posted here.

  1. Download the 12.1.1 update directly from Microsoft's Mactopia website.
  2. Mount the downloaded DMG file and copy the installer to your desktop.
  3. Right-click the installer and select "show package contents"
  4. Navigate to Office 2008 12.1.1 Update/Contents/Resources/package_updatable and open the file in TextEdit.
    1. Scroll to the bottom and find the line "found_valid_version=False."
    2. Change False to True, then delete all the text below until the start of "if not found_valid_version:" Making sure that line is not deleted!
  5. Close the window, it will ask if you want to overwrite the file. Say yes.
  6. Close the Finder window and then run the installer like normal.

Hopefully it should then work. Seems the problem was with the checksum - by deleting that the installer goes without a problem.

7) Finder not updating the Desktop Database

Leopard is not updating the Desktop Database and thus the Finder is not showing the proper version.

You might need to restart your computer three or four times to get this file updated.

8) Users that have modified their soundsets could cause Entourage not to update

You will need to do a re-install of Office.

9) Use the command line to install.

One user wrote, I installed 12.0.0 then 12.1.0 but 12.1.5 wouldn't apply. I was able to appy the installer using the command line.

  1. Open the Terminal application found in /Applications/Utilities.
  2. If not already logged in as an administrator then type:

    su adminsName

    followed by the return key. Then enter the admin's password.
  3. Type:

    "sudo installer -pkg "

    making sure to leave a trailing space.
  4. Drag the "Office 2008 12.1.5 Update.mpkg" package into the middle of the Terminal window. This will fill out the full path to the installer. It will look something like:

    "sudo installer -pkg /Users/admin/Desktop/Office\ 2008\ 12.1.5\Update.mpkg"
  5. Type a space at the end of the line and then add "-target /". The whole thing will look like;

    "sudo installer -pkg /Users/Shared/Desktop/Office\ 2008\ 12.1.5\ Update.mpkg -target /"
  6. Hit the return key. Enter the administrator's password when prompted.
  7. It will begin installing.