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Description of the self-repairing features

This article was previously published under Q235620
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Microsoft Office 2000 takes full advantage of the self-repairing features offered by the Windows Installer. So, if a critical resource is missing, such as a file or registry key required to start an Office program, the Windows Installer detects this and repairs the program. If your source files are accessible, you see a Windows Installer dialog box appear briefly during the repair process, and then the application finishes starting.
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Components and Features

The mechanism by which this self-repairing process occurs is based on two building blocks of the Windows Installer: components and features. The smallest and most fundamental block is components, a collection of files, registry keys, and other resources that are all installed or uninstalled as a unit. Features are the granular pieces of an application that you can choose to install and typically represent the functional features of the application. Essentially, a feature is a grouping of components. When you perform a Custom installation, the items listed in the Microsoft Office 2000: Selecting Features dialog box are the features for Microsoft Office and the Office programs.


One of the resources within a component can be designated as the keypath for the component. Typically a file is chosen as the keypath, but it could also be a registry value.

The keypath represents two things:
  • The path to the given component.

    When an application requests a path to a component, the Windows Installer returns the path to the keypath resource.
  • Verification of whether the component is properly installed.

    If the keypath resource is missing, the Windows Installer treats the whole component as broken.

Runtime Repair

The Windows Installer enables a dynamic repair of an application in much the same way that it enables the installation of features on first use. When an application is started, the Windows Installer verifies that each component is properly installed. As mentioned earlier in this article, the existence of the keypath is used to determine whether a component is broken. If the keypath resource is missing, the Windows Installer automatically reinstalls the component or components that are broken.

Auto-Repair Example

The following example demonstrates how the auto-repairing process of the Windows Installer can be triggered:
  1. You install Office 2000, including the Office Shortcut Bar (OSB).
  2. You set up the OSB so that it starts each time you start Windows.
  3. After using Office for a few days, someone deletes Msoffice.exe (one of the files needed to run the OSB) from your hard disk.
  4. The next time you start Windows, you expect the OSB to start. However, you see the Windows Installer dialog box appear for a few seconds, and then the OSB starts.
In this scenario, the shortcut to OSA9.exe in your Windows Startup folder tries to start the OSB, but it fails because Msoffice.exe is missing. Since Msoffice.exe is a keypath for one of the components (Global_Office_OSB) of the OSB feature (OSBShortCutFiles), the Windows Installer sees it as a broken component. Therefore, it automatically reinstalls the resources in that component, and another attempt is made to start the OSB. Because all of the components have been repaired, the OSB starts.

NOTE: The preceding auto-repair steps do not work on a computer that does not have the Windows Desktop Update installed. Some auto-repair does take place on non-Desktop Update computers, but it is limited. To have complete self-repairing capabilities, at a minimum your computer must have Internet Explorer 4.01 and SP1 or SP2 and the Windows Desktop Update installed before you install Office 2000. This should only be an issue on computers running either Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0, because Windows 98 ships with the necessary version of Internet Explorer.

If you want to view the features (including components and keypaths) for Office 2000 Premium, follow these steps:
  1. In your browser, enter the following Web address in the address box:

    Office 2000 Resource Kit Core Tool Set
  2. Click the link to download Keypath.exe.
  3. Expand the downloaded item.
  4. Open Keypath.xls in Microsoft Excel.
NOTE: Do not manually delete any of these keypath resources (files or registry values) in order to trigger a repair operation. The run-time repairing process has some limitations that are only offered by using either the Detect and Repair option on the Help menu or the Repair Office option in Maintenance Mode Setup. To repair Office using Maintenance Mode Setup, follow these steps:
  1. Double-click Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the Office 2000 entry listed in the Add/Remove Programs Properties dialog box.
  3. Click Repair Office.
  4. Click Repair errors in my Office installation and then click Finish.NOTE: Select the Restore my shortcuts check box if you are having problems with your Office shortcuts.

  5. If you are still having problems, repeat steps 1-3, and then click Reinstall Office and click Finish.
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Article ID: 235620 - Last Review: 12/05/2015 15:01:55 - Revision: 1.0

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