Description of the differences between repair and reinstall in Office XP and 2003

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Article ID: 298027 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q298027
For a Microsoft Office 2000 version of this article, see 230672.
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When you run the Office Setup program after Microsoft Office has been installed, you are automatically put into Maintenance mode. One of the Maintenance mode options is Repair Office. If you use this option, the Reinstall or Repair Office Installation dialog box appears with the following two options:
  • Reinstall Office.
  • Detect and repair errors in my Office Installation.

More information

There is a subtle difference between these two options and you will want to make sure you choose the appropriate option based on your situation. In either case, the Windows Installer /f command line switch is being called. The difference is in the parameters that are being attached to the /f switch.

Note You can also perform a Repair procedure from any of the Office programs by clicking Detect and Repair on the Help menu. This procedure is the same procedure that is performed when you click the Detect and repair errors in my Office installation command in Maintenance mode.

The following table outlines the /f default combinations that are called when you perform either a Repair or Reinstall:
                               /f combination passed
Mode                           to the Windows Installer
Detect and Repair called            /focums
from the Help menu

Detect and Repair errors            /focum
in my Office Installation 
called from Maintenance Mode

Reinstall Office called from        /fecums
Maintenance Mode
Note If you click Detect and repair errors in my Office installation, the Restore My Start Menu Shortcuts check box becomes available, but is not selected. If you select this check box, then the /f switch combination becomes /focums instead of the default /focum.

The following table lists all of the parameters that are available for use with the /f Windows Installer switch.

Option       Description
p            Reinstall only if file is missing, or verify the
             file is present.

o            Reinstall if file is missing, or an earlier version
             is present.

e            Reinstall if file is missing, or an equal or earlier
             version is present.

d            Reinstall if file is missing, or a different version
             is present.

c            Reinstall if file is missing or corrupt. This option
             only repairs files that have msidbFileAttributesChecksum
             in the Attributes column of the File table.

a            Force all files to be reinstalled, regardless of checksum
             or version.

u            Rewrite all required registry entries from the registry
             table that go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER or HKEY_USERS
             registry keys.

m            Rewrite all required registry entries from the registry
             table that go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or
             HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry key. Rewrite all information
             from the Class table, Verb table, PublishComponent table,
             ProgID table, MIME table, Icon table, Extension table,
             and AppID table regardless of computer or user assignment.
             Reinstall all qualified components.

s            Reinstall all shortcuts and re-cache all icons,
             overwriting any existing shortcuts and icons.

v            Use to run from the source package and re-cache the local

To Run a Repair/Reinstall Procedure from the Command Line

You can also manually perform a Repair or Reinstall procedure using a custom combination of /f parameters. For example, if you only want to repair or reinstall the Office shortcuts on the Programs menu, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type a command line similar to the one below:
    path\setup.exe /fs Msifile.msi
    where path is the folder where the Setup.exe file is located and Msifile.msi is the *.msi file you are using.
  3. Click OK.


For more information, see the Microsoft Office XP Resource Kit at:
Microsoft Office Resource Kit


Article ID: 298027 - Last Review: October 18, 2012 - Revision: 6.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office XP Small Business Edition
  • Microsoft Office XP Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office XP Developer Edition
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