Office program errors when DisableThemes is configured in the __COMPAT_LAYER environment variable

Applies to: Outlook 2013Microsoft Outlook 2010Word 2013 More

Symptoms


Consider the following scenario when you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.

  • In Microsoft Word, when you attempt Open a document or Save As,nothing appears to happen.
  • In Microsoft Excel, when you attempt Open a spreadsheet or Save As, nothing appears to happen.
  • In Microsoft PowerPoint, when you attempt to Open a Presentation or Save As, you receive the following error:

    An error occurred while opening the file dialog. Please save your presentations, exit, and then restart PowerPoint.

    PPT Error


  • In Microsoft Outlook:
    • You click Save As with an email message and you receive the following error:

      The server is not available. Contact your administrator if this condition persists.

    • You click Open Calendar or Open Outlook Data File on the Backstage and receive the following error:

      The server is not available. Contact your administrator if this condition persists.

      error






Cause


These problems occur when you have the __COMPAT_LAYER environment variable and its value contains 'DisableThemes'. This is shown in the following figure.

COMPAT_LAYER

Resolution


To resolve this problem, remove the __COMPAT_LAYER System Variable from Environment Variables.
  1. Exit all Office programs.
  2. Open Advanced System settings
    • Windows 7:
      1. Click Start, right click Computer, and then click Properties.
      2. Click Advanced system settings in the left pane.
    • Windows 8:
      1. Right-click the Windows Icon, and then click System.
      2. Click Advanced system settings in the left pane.
  3. On the Advanced tab, click Environment Variables.
  4. Under System variables, select __COMPAT_LAYER, and then click Delete.
  5. Start your Office program(s).