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Microsoft Agent-enabled programs do not work in Windows 7
Article ID: 969168 - View products that this article applies to.
Microsoft Agent is a set of software services that supports interactive characters within the Microsoft Windows display. Some examples of the Microsoft Agent characters are the Office Assistants. The characters included Clipit (the paper clip), The Dot (a shape-shifting and color-shifting smiley-faced red ball), Hoverbot (a robot), and The Genius (a caricature of Albert Einstein).The characters would interact with users by offering help with tasks currently being performed. For more information about the phasing out of Microsoft Agent, seehttp://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms695784(VS.85).aspx
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When starting a program in Windows 7, you may receive an error associated with Microsoft Agent, after receiving the error message the program may crash.
For example, when you use Microsoft Office XP and you press F1 to open the Office Assistant, you receive the following message:
The Office Assistant requires Microsoft Agent 2.0 or later versions. This product is available in the Office System Pack.
After you click OK, the Help window appears. The Help window can be used in the standard manner. However, you cannot use the Office Assistant.
This issue can occur with applications such as Microsoft Office XP, Microsoft Office 2003, and any program that uses Microsoft Agent.
This issue occurs because Microsoft Agent has been discontinued with the release of Windows 7.
Microsoft Agent is not included in Windows 7, and it will not be included in any later versions of the Windows operating system. However, you can download Microsoft Agent as a hotfix for your Windows 7 computer.
To resolve this issue, download and install Hotfix 969168 to install Microsoft Agent to your computer. To do this, click the View and request hotfix downloads link at the top of this article and follow the instructions.
Note The hotfix installs only the Microsoft Agent core components and the Merlin character. Additional character files such as Dot, Hoverbot, Scribble, or other Microsoft Agent components that are required for specific Microsoft Agent enabled applications will not be installed by this hotfix. If Microsoft Agent enabled applications still do not function after the installation of the hotfix, you may have to contact the software manufacturer for help.
Additionally, on Windows 7-based computers you may be presented with the Program Compatibility Assistant (PCA). When the PCA dialog box appears, click Check for solutions online. You are prompted to install Microsoft Agent, and then you are directed back to this article to install the hotfix.
Important The hotfix landing page determines your current Windows version and offers the download package for that version. You may want to download the hotfix to install on a different computer. For example, if you are currently using a 32-bit version of Windows 7, you may wish to install the hotfix on a 64-bit version of Windows 7. In this situation, you will need to click the link above the offered hotfix labeled Show hotfixes for all platforms and languages, and then move that hotfix to the 64-bit version of Windows 7 for installation.
Hotfix informationA supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.
If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.
Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=supportNote The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.
PrerequisitesYou must have Windows 7 installed to apply this hotfix.
Restart requirementYou do not have to restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.
Hotfix replacement informationThis hotfix does not replace a previously released hotfix.
File informationThe global version of this hotfix has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time item in Control Panel.
For all supported x86-based versions of Windows 7
Collapse this tableExpand this table
For all supported x64-based versions of Windows 7
Collapse this tableExpand this table
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.
For more information about software update terminology, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/824684/ )Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates
For more information about Microsoft Agent, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
Article ID: 969168 - Last Review: October 2, 2012 - Revision: 9.0