Information about how Microsoft updates Office 2003 products

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Article ID: 953744 - View products that this article applies to.
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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how Microsoft updates Microsoft Office 2003 products.

MORE INFORMATION

Cumulative updating model

When Microsoft creates an update or a hotfix for an Office program, the fixes that are included in the update or in the hotfix are cumulative. That is, the fixes are cumulative with regard to the targeted files that are being updated within the specific Office product. The fixes are not cumulative with regard to the whole Office system.

For example, a hotfix that contains a version of the Word file winword.exe that was created on January 01, 2007 contains all the changes that were made to the winword.exe file until January 01, 2007. However, that hotfix does not contain updates for Excel.

If you apply an update rollup package that was released on May 22, 2007 to Microsoft Office Word 2003, you receive all the fixes in that rollup package as expected. Additionally, you receive all the fixes that are contained in the previously released rollup packages for Word 2003.

Note This method of updating Office 2003 products does not replace service packs for Office 2003 products. Office service packs are also cumulative and contain all previously released hotfixes and updates. We also deliver additional product updates and features in service packs that are not available separately for Office 2003 products.

Office updates and service packs

All versions of Office are serviced with cumulative updates. Updates for Office system components always contain the latest version of the affected file for that product version and all previously-released hotfixes to those files. Customers who have not installed the latest service pack (Service Pack N) but have the previous service pack (Service Pack N-1) can install critical updates or important updates that are released for 12 months after Service Pack N is released. Updates that install on Service Pack N and on Service Pack N-1 contain the same files and the same fixes. All fixes maintain backward compatibility together with previously-released updates.

Updates are also cumulative with regard to previously released service packs. For example, updates that are released after Office 2003 Service Pack 3 (SP3) contain changes that were made in SP3. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
951646 Description of the behavior changes that occur after you install post-Office 2003 Service Pack 3 updates
When a service pack such as SP3 is released and you use a detection site, such as Microsoft Update or Office Update, you will be offered SP3 and all updates that are released after SP3. However, you will not be offered any updates that were released before SP3. Additionally, any post-SP3 updates that you install will include all the SP3 fixes to that component.

After you install SP3, you will be offered all updates that are released after SP3. In some cases, you may be offered updates for products that are not installed on your computer. Recommended updates are determined by the Office suite that is installed, not by the actual Office programs that are installed. For example, future updates for Microsoft Office Publisher 2003 will be offered for the installed Office Professional 2003 product even if Publisher is not installed.

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
830335 Office Update offers updates for Office programs that you do not have installed

Automatic Updates

Customers who have enabled Automatic Updates will be automatically updated with the latest updates that have been released to Automatic Updates.

Computers that have Automatic Updates enabled will automatically be updated as follows:
  • The computer has a previous service pack that is still supported according to the terms of the Microsoft Support Life Cycle policy. Additionally, Microsoft has not enabled automatic updating for the latest service pack. In this scenario, Microsoft Update installs only the latest high-priority updates or important updates for that version of Office. The order of download or installation is as follows:
    1. Service Pack N-1 if the customer has an earlier service pack
    2. Pre-Service Pack N high-priority updates or important updates
    3. Post-Service Pack N high-priority updates or important updates
  • A user has a previous service pack that is still supported according to the terms of the Microsoft Support Life Cycle policy. Additionally, Microsoft has enabled automatic updating for the latest service pack. In this scenario, Microsoft Update installs both the latest service pack and the latest high-priority updates or important updates for that version of Office.
  • If a user has a previous service pack that is not supported according to the terms of the Microsoft Support Life Cycle policy, Microsoft Update installs the most recent service pack first. Then, Microsoft Update installs the latest high-priority updates or important updates after the most recent service pack is installed.
For more information about the Microsoft Support Life Cycle policy, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselect
For example, if you use Automatic Updates, and Microsoft has not yet enabled Automatic Updates for SP3, all available security updates will be downloaded and installed. When Microsoft enables Automatic Updates for SP3, Automatic Updates downloads and installs both the latest service pack and the latest high-priority updates or important updates for that version of Office.

Critical or important updates

When Microsoft releases a high-priority update or an important update for a specific version of Office, the update always targets Service Pack N. The update also targets Service Pack N-1 for 12 months after the release of Service Pack N. If the fix is already included in Service Pack N, the update is intended for use with Service Pack N-1. However, the update still targets Service Pack N because that file version is more recent. In this case, customers who have Service Pack N would not have to install the update to fix the vulnerability that is described in the associated security bulletin.

However, customers should install the update if they want to benefit from the fixes that are contained in the latest version of that file. Refer to the Knowledge Base bulletin article to determine whether the reported vulnerability is fixed in the latest service pack.

If you have Service Pack N and you use detection sites and tools, such as Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), you will be offered security updates even when your installation may not be vulnerable at your service pack level. You may review security bulletins to verify the affected products.

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
821549 How to check the version of Office 2003 products

Windows Software Update Services

If you are a WSUS administrator, both the latest service pack and the post-service pack updates are listed because both are applicable. However, post-service pack updates that are released during the N-1 support period still apply to the previous baseline. Pre-service pack updates will not be available to the client computer until the most recent service pack is unapproved in the administrative interface.

For example, if you use WSUS to manage updates, you will see all available updates before SP3 and after SP3 in the administrative console. However, if you approve SP3 in the console, pre-SP3 updates will not be offered to client computers. If SP3 is not approved, all updates will be offered to client computers.

Properties

Article ID: 953744 - Last Review: June 17, 2008 - Revision: 1.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office Basic Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office 2003 Personal Edition
  • Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Small Business Edition 2003
  • Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003
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