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Troubleshoot Install/Update of Office 2008

  1. Installation starts but does not complete
  2. Unable to install Updates
  3. Steps for a successful upgrade or installation of Office 2008
  4. Do and Dont's for a good install
  5. Check List to troubleshoot your install
  6. Help with errors received when installing and updating

Installation starts but does not complete?

  • If you see a message such as one of these, use the tips below:
  • "There were problems installing the software"
  • "There were errors during the installation...Please try again."
  • "Because of a problem, installing Office 2008 could not be completed."
  • "Installer could not validate contents of the [PackageName] package" (where '[PackageName]' is the name of one of the packages on the installation disc).
    • Tip: RAM issues may cause an installation issue such as this. Try removing any third-party RAM that's been installed.

These types of errors indicate, hardware or a bad disk.

You can also retry the installation on the same computer, or try a different compatible computer (as a test) to determine whether the issue is isolated to the Office install disc or to the computer itself.

If you are unable to install Updates

Often it's our base system files that do not let us update or a hardware problem.

  • One user reported he discovered his hard drive was having significant problems. Running a disk repair fixed those problems and now allows for the install of update. Launch Disk Utility in your Applications/Utilities folder. Utilities > DIsk Utility, click First Aid, and then click Repair Disk.
  • You might need to download the latest combo updater from Apple and run it again rather than using Software Update. Doing so overwrites potentially problem-causing files. Combo updaters will install on the same version as they're applying—no need to roll back or do a clean install.
  • Other users have found that an "Archive & Install" of the OS was required.

Steps for a successful upgrade or installation of Office 2008

  1. Office 2008 must be installed in the boot volume.
  2. Office 2008 must not be modified. Read Dos & Don'ts below.
  3. Restart your machine (sometimes the temp folder where the update wants to write to is locked, restarting your machine clears the temp folder and rectifies this problem)
  4. Hold Shift key down to disable startup applications. (be sure no virus applications or any MSFT applications including Notifications/Reminders, Messenger are running) How to quit Notifications
  5. Restart after updating.

Dos and Don'ts for a good install

  • If you have moved Office from the default install location of your root Application folder, this could present problems updating. This is especially true for Office 2008. Office 2008 now uses an Apple package installer. Previous versions of Office used the VISE installer.
  • Make sure that the user account you use to authenticate the update installer is an administrator account.
  • Make sure that you downloaded the correct language version of the update for your copy of Office. Make sure you have downloaded the correct version. Some users have confused 12.0.1 with 12.1.0 (SP1).
  • Do not delete any of the Office applications. It could interefere with an update. Applications take up very little space. Just because they are installed does not mean you have to use them.
  • Don't overlook this simple option - run repaired permissions on the startup drive and then reboot.
  • If you rename or modify any of the files in the Microsoft Office 2008 folder, you cannot install product updates.
    • Rename any Office components you may have renamed (for example, if you changed the name of Microsoft Word to Word 2008; rename it to Microsoft Word)
    • If you moved any Office component out of the Microsoft Office 2008 folder, put it back.
      Editing a template will not cause you issues.
    • DO NOT make changes to the application bundles - like changing the info.plist files. This will cause upgrades to fail to find Office.
      • There is a script out that someone has put together that modifies the info.plist for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to help with interactions with Safari. Because the info.plist has been modified, the patch installer no longer recognizes the application as the ones that were installed
      • There is an application out on sourceforge.net that will modify the resource bundles. Like the above issue, the application bundle has been changed and as such the patch installer no longer recognizes the application as one that has been installed by Microsoft.
    • If you ran a language pack utility to save disk space this could cause the updater to fail.
      • Trim the fat utilties or commands like lipo & ditto.
      • Examples of items that will prevent upgrade:
        • Monolingual
        • Safari fix read the full discussion here
        • Xslimmer (Xslimmer strips PPC binaries for Intel Mac's and vice/versa)
        • Service Scrubber might be a culprit.
        • Drive Genius
    • If you are unsure what you might have changed....

      Easy Fix:

      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 Repair Permissions

Check List to troubleshoot your install

  1. Are you logged in as an admin user?
  2. Do you meet the minimum OS requirements? (10.4.9 for Office 2008)
  3. Is your installed copy an Official Office install? The updater will only update the Official RTM version and the Official 12.0.1. If you ever installed a beta or ""unofficial" copy. Remove all MSFT files. "Remove Office" is not programmed to remove all beta files.
  4. Did you move Office 2008 to a different drive? The Installer will only update if it is on a bootable partition. You will need to move the application back to a bootable partition to get the updater to work. You can move it back after updating. (This is a Apple installer function.)
  5. Did you make any modifications? The Installer will only update if you have not changed the name of the folder or anything else in it.
    1. Installer will only update if you have not removed some items from Office folder (not custom install, but removed after installing)
    2. Installer will only update if you have not run some application that changes Office (You might not realize it changes Office. This includes the AppleScript to stop Safari from adding extra extensions to files downloaded and an application that will remove multi-lingual bits from applications)
    3. Did yout run any scripts or engage in processes that modify the applications in the Microsoft Office 2008 folder.
  6. Did you restart between installing and trying to update? If the updater fails or says it cannot find a version of Office that needs updating, then reboot and try again.

    In some instances, the temporary folder used to install the last update does not get deleted. In these instances, the next Office update cannot install. You can rectify this by restarting your machine.
  7. Did you download the correct installer? Check for correct language and version number. Some users have confused the 12.0.1 updater with the 12.1.0 (SP1).
  8. If you receive a framework error, re-apply recent updates. A framework error normally means one or more components of Office have not been updated correctly and are now out of synch with other bits.
  9. One or more Office applications missing after applying update. Reinstall from your CD and then run the patch again. This situation has the potential (albeit small) to happen during the upgrade process if there is failure during the process (installer deletes the old app, and then installs the new one).
  10. If you receive error message that the operation cannot be completed because the Alerts Daemon is in use, open Activity Monitor in /Applications/Utilities/, select Alerts Daemon, and click Quit Process button.
  11. 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 we use 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.MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
    2. 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.

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Unique problems associated with specific installs can be found on the Entourage Help Blog.