How to understand the repair feature in Office 2003 and in Office XP


This step-by-step article describes how the repair process in Office works.

Office takes full advantage of the self-repairing features that are offered by the Microsoft Windows Installer. If a resource that you must have to start an Office program is missing, such as a file or registry key, the Windows Installer detects the missing resource and repairs the program.

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Components and features

The repair process of Windows Installer is composed of two mechanisms: components and features.
  • Components The smallest and most fundamental block; a collection of files, registry keys, and other resources that are all installed or uninstalled as a unit. One of the resources in a component can be designated as the keypath for the component. Typically, a file is chosen as the keypath, but the keypath can also be a registry value.

    The keypath represents the following:
    • The path to the selected component. When a program requests a path to a component, the Windows Installer returns the path to the keypath resource.
    • Verification that the component is installed correctly. If the keypath resource is missing, the Windows Installer treats the whole component as broken.
  • Features The specific pieces of a program that you can choose to install. Features typically represent the functional features of the program. Essentially, a feature is a grouping of components. When you perform a custom installation, the items that are listed in the Advanced Customization dialog box are the features for Office and the various Office programs.
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Dynamic run-time repair

The Windows Installer enables a dynamic repair of a program in much the same way that it enables the installation of features on first use. When a program is started, the Windows Installer verifies that each component is correctly installed.

As mentioned in the "Components and Features" section of this article, the existence of the keypath is used to determine if a component is broken or missing. If the keypath resource is missing, the Windows Installer automatically reinstalls the component or components that are broken or missing.

If your source files are accessible, you may see a Windows Installer dialog box appear briefly during the repair process, and then the program finishes starting.

For more information about the Windows Installer, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

310598 Overview of the Windows Installer technology

Note If you are running Office XP or one of the Office 2002 programs, you must have Windows Desktop Update installed on the computer for the dynamic run-time repair feature to work as expected. If the computer is not running Windows Desktop Update, only limited repair occurs. To use all the self-repairing capabilities that are included in Office, you must have at least Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Windows Desktop Update installed on the computer before you install Office XP. These requirements will be an issue only on computers that are running Microsoft Windows NT 4.0. All other operating systems that are required for Office XP include the required version of Internet Explorer. You cannot install Office 2003 or the individual Office 2003 programs on Microsoft Windows NT 4.0.

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On-demand detect and repair

To run the Detect and Repair feature in your Office programs, follow these steps:
  1. Start an Office program.
  2. On the Help menu, click Detect and Repair.
  3. In the Detect and Repair dialog box, do any of the following:
    • Click to select the Restore my shortcuts while repairing check box. By default, this check box is selected. If you select the Restore my shortcuts while repairing option, Detect and Repair will keep your custom Office shortcuts. If you do not select this option, Detect and Repair will remove your custom Office shortcuts.
    • Click to select the Discard my customized settings and restore default settings check box. If you select the Discard my customized settings and restore default settings option, Detect and Repair will set the following back to the state that they appeared in when you first installed Office:
      • The Assistant character selection.
      • Most-recently-used entries on the File menu will be removed.
      • The size of the program window for all programs.
      • Menu and toolbar position and any customizations.
      • The security level for each program.
      • View settings in the program, such as the Calendar view in Outlook.
      • You must re-enter your User Name and Initials when you restart your Office programs.
  4. Click Start.
  5. Click Ignore if the Close Office Programs dialog box displays the following message (where program is any Office program that is currently running):
    In order to correctly pick up or restore your settings, the following programs must be closed:
    Microsoft program
  6. After the repair process has completed, click OK to the following message where edition is the version of Office that you have installed (for example, Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003):
    Microsoft Office edition Setup completed successfully.
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Article ID: 822238 - Last Review: Aug 19, 2009 - Revision: 1