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How to troubleshoot Macintosh system errors on OS 9.x and earlier

This article was previously published under Q272766
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
For a Microsoft Word 98 version of this article, see 216733.
This article explains how to troubleshoot Macintosh system errors that may occur when you use the Office 2001 programs listed at the beginning of this article.

Examples of System Error Messages

Occasionally, a Macintosh system error occurs when you perform an operation in Microsoft Word for Mac, Microsoft Excel for Mac, or Microsoft PowerPoint for Mac.

The following are examples of Macintosh system error messages:
The Application "Microsoft ?" has unexpectedly quit because an error oftype 1 has occurred. You should save your work in other open applications and restart the computer.
The Application "Microsoft ?" has unexpectedly quit because an error of type 3 has occurred. You should save your work in other open applications and restart the computer.
Or, instead of displaying an error message, your computer may stop responding (hang).

System Requirements for Microsoft Office 2001

Before troubleshooting the application for a system error, verify that your computer meets and/or exceeds the system requirements for the application. Microsoft Office 2001 has the following system requirements:
  • Any PowerPC processor-based, Mac OS compatible computer (clock speed of at least 120 MHz recommended).
  • Apple Mac OS System 8.1 through Apple Mac OS System 9.2.2 (System 8.5 recommended).
  • 32 megabytes (MB) of RAM with at least 1 MB of Virtual Memory for Systems prior to 9.0; 48 MB of RAM with at least 1 MB of Virtual Memory for systems 9.0 or later.
  • Approximately 160 MB of hard-disk space for a drag-and-drop install; 75 MB for a minimum custom install.
  • CD-ROM drive (or connection to a local area network if installing over a network).
  • Monitor or display supporting 256 grays or 256 colors, with a 640 X 480 or higher resolution.
Additional items or services required to use certain features:
  • Entourage and certain features require Internet access, which may require payment of a separate fee to a service provider.
  • 9600 baud modem or higher (14,400 recommended).
To install Office 2001 Value Pack components, you need the following additional hard disk space:
  • 120 MB for additional clip art.
  • 40 MB for additional templates and wizards.
  • 140 MB for help, add-ins, and other components.

Troubleshooting System Errors

To troubleshoot system errors that occur when you are using an Office 2001 for Mac program, follow these steps.

Step 1: Test the Extensions

Extensions and Control Panel files add functionality to your Macintosh system. Sometimes one of these files conflicts with a program by attempting to store its information at a location in memory where another program stores its information.

If you have Mac OS 8.x or OS 9.x, you can temporarily turn off extensions by following these steps:
  1. Press and hold the SHIFT key on the right side of the keyboard, and then restart your computer.
  2. Continue holding SHIFT until the "Welcome to Mac OS Extensions Off" message closes.
To reactivate the extensions, restart your computer by clicking Restart on the Special menu.

NOTE: If the system error causes your computer to stop responding (hang), shut down the computer (turn off the power if necessary), and then restart with the extensions turned off.

If the system error does not recur in the Office program, one of your extensions or Control Panel files is probably causing the problem. Isolate the problem file, or contact Apple Technical Support for assistance.

For additional information about troubleshooting extension conflicts and isolating a problem extension, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
263159 How to troubleshoot extension conflicts on the Macintosh
If the system error recurs in the Office program, the problem is not caused by an extension conflict. Continue with step 2.

Step 2: Rebuild the Desktop File

It is recommended that you rebuild your desktop file on a regular basis, as frequently as once per month. Your desktop consists of a pair of invisible system files that maintain information about the files, folders, and programs on your hard disk drive.

Occasionally your desktop file may become too large or may be damaged. Rebuilding the desktop file relinks documents to their correct programs and rewrites the desktop file.

Before you rebuild the desktop, verify that you have enough space available on the hard disk. The desktop rebuilding process requires hard disk space and will not successfully complete without it. A good guideline is to always have 5 percent of the hard disk drive or other volume available as free space.

Systems 8.x and 9.x:

Before you rebuild your desktop, use the Extensions Manager to save a record of the extensions that are currently turned on. To do this, first open Extensions Manager in Control Panels. Click the Sets short-cut menu, and then click Save Set. When the Save Set dialog box opens, type a name for your currently selected extensions (for example, "My Extensions"). When you close the dialog box, the name of your set is added to the Sets menu.
  1. Turn off all extensions. Click the Sets short-cut menu again, and then click All Off.
  2. Restart your computer while holding down COMMAND+OPTION.
  3. When you see the Are you sure you want to rebuild the desktop file on the disk Disk Name? dialog box, release the COMMAND+OPTION keys, and then click OK.
  4. When the desktop is rebuilt, click the Apple menu, and then click Control Panels.
  5. Open Extensions Manager.
  6. Turn on your extensions by clicking the Sets shortcut menu and clicking the name that you gave your set of extensions in step 1 (for example, "My Extensions").
  7. Restart your computer.
If the system error does not recur in the Office program after you rebuild your desktop, you can conclude that you had a damaged desktop file.

If the system error recurs in the Office program, continue with step 3.

Step 3: Test for a Damaged Settings File

  1. Quit any Office programs that are still running.

    NOTE: If you are not sure whether an Office program is running, click the Finder icon on the right end of the menu bar. If the name of the Microsoft Office program appears on the Finder list, the Office program is still running. In this case, click the Office program on the Finder menu, and then click Quit on the File menu.
  2. On the desktop, click the Hard Disk icon to open it.
  3. Open the System folder, and then open the Preferences folder.
  4. Find the Microsoft folder, and use a drag-and-drop operation to move the Microsoft folder to the desktop near the Trash icon.
  5. Start the Office program, and test to see whether the problem still occurs.
If the system error does not recur in the Office program after you move the Microsoft folder from the Preferences folder, you can conclude that the Settings file is damaged. If the Settings file is damaged, drag the Microsoft folder from the desktop to the Trash, and empty the Trash.

NOTE: When the settings that are stored in the Microsoft folder are not available in the active system, the program creates a new Settings file with the default settings when the Office program is closed.

If the system error recurs in the Office program, place the Microsoft folder back into the Preferences folder, replacing the file that is currently in that location, and continue with step 4.

Step 4: Test the System

To rule out system damage as the cause of the system error in the Office program, start your Macintosh computer by using a System CD. This disk contains programs that you can use to initialize, test, and repair disks.

Several files must be available when an Office program is started. When you install the Office program, these files are copied to the System folder that is currently active. The Office program uses these files when the program is started.

When you start the Macintosh from the System CD, the System folder located on the CD becomes the active System folder. However, the System folder on the CD does not contain the preferences or extensions that the Office program uses at startup; therefore, you receive error messages.

If the Office program cannot find the files in the System folder, it searches for them in the Microsoft Office 2001:Office folder on your hard disk.

If you are using an Office 2001 program for the Power Macintosh, follow these steps to start from a System CD:
  1. Quit all programs.
  2. Open the Extensions folder in the System folder, and then hold down SHIFT while you select the following files:
    Microsoft Component Library
    Microsoft Internet Library
    Microsoft OLE Automation
    Microsoft OLE Library
    Microsoft Structured Storage
  3. With these files selected, press and hold down OPTION, and then drag the files onto the desktop. This action places a copy of the files on the desktop. (Holding down OPTION causes the files to be copied instead of moved.)
  4. Move the files from the desktop to the Microsoft Office 2001:Office folder.
  5. Use one of the following methods to start the computer from the System CD.To start your Macintosh from the CD-ROM drive, follow these steps:

    1. Insert a System CD in the CD-ROM drive.
    2. Restart the computer while holding down the C key on the keyboard.
    NOTE: Not all Power Macintosh computers can be started from CD-ROM by holding down the C key at startup. If this method does not work, try one of the following alternate methods.

    Alternate Method 1: Use a Key Combination

    Hold down COMMAND+SHIFT+OPTION+DELETE. This forces the Macintosh to bypass the internal hard disk and look for a different System folder, which might be located on a CD-ROM, zip disk, floppy disk, or other removable cartridge disk, or a different hard disk.

    Alternate Method 2: Change the Startup Disk Settings

    1. Restart your Macintosh and start from the hard disk.
    2. On the Apple menu, click Control Panels, and then click Startup Disk.
    3. Select the System CD as the startup disk.
    NOTE: To use this method, the CD must be inserted and read by the Macintosh computer while it is running from the hard disk System folder. After you complete your troubleshooting steps, be sure to reselect the internal hard disk as the Startup disk.
NOTE: After you finish these troubleshooting steps, drag these extra files from the Office folder to the Trash, so that the files do not continue to take up hard disk space.

IMPORTANT: Starting from the System CD is a troubleshooting step only. This action is not recommended as a way to run programs for an extended period of time. When you start an Office program after starting the Macintosh from a System CD, you may experience any of the following limitations in functionality:
  • Microsoft Entourage will not start.
  • You cannot run the spelling checker in Word 2001, Excel 2001, or PowerPoint 2001.
  • When you try to save in Excel 2001, you receive the following error message:
    Microsoft Excel cannot open or save any more documents because there is not enough available memory or disk space.
    When you click OK, you receive the following error message:
    Document not saved
  • When you try to save in Word 2001 or PowerPoint 2001, the Save command may be unavailable. However, if you click Save As and then select the hard disk in the location box, you can save your file.
  • The Formatting Palette is displayed without text.
  • The ToolTips are displayed without text.
  • The Data Merge Manager in Word is displayed without text.
  • Fonts are not available.
  • You cannot print files.

Continued Troubleshooting

In general, if the problem recurs after you start the computer from the System CD, you can usually conclude that the System file or Finder file on the hard disk is not causing the problem.

If the system error does not recur in the Office program, you can conclude that the system software on the hard disk is damaged. In this case, you must reinstall your Macintosh system software. Be sure to delete the old System file and Finder file before you reinstall the system software by using your Apple System Install disks. For assistance, refer to your Apple Macintosh manual, or contact Apple Technical Support.

NOTE: It is always a good idea to back up your hard disk before you reinstall your Macintosh system software.

If the system error recurs in the Office program, a problem may exist with the hard disk driver. Continue with step 5.

Step 5: Run the Drive Setup Utility to Update the Hard Disk Driver

Systems 8.x and 9.x:
  1. Double-click Drive Setup, which is located on the System CD in the Utilities folder.
  2. Select the drive that you want to update.
  3. On the Functions menu, click Update Driver.
  4. Restart your computer for the updates to take effect.
IMPORTANT: If no options are available in Drive Setup,your hard disk may be formatted with software that is not Apple Macintoshsoftware.

If the system error does not recur in the Office program, you can conclude that your hard disk driver was damaged.

If the system error still recurs in the Office program, continue with step 6.

Step 6: Reset the Parameter RAM (PRAM)

This action resets the Macintosh to its factory defaults and may help the computer locate the Startup disk. To reset Parameter RAM, follow these steps:
  1. Restart your computer while pressing COMMAND+OPTION+P+R.
  2. After the Macintosh chimes two to five times, release the keys.
NOTE: When you reset the PRAM, you may need to reset various Control Panels settings, such as the type of network that you access or the screen resolution.

Step 7: Remove and Reinstall Office

If the system error still recurs, completely remove and reinstall Office by using the steps in the following Knowledge Base articles:
269856 How to remove Microsoft Office 2001 from your computer
274033 How to perform a drag-and-drop installation of Microsoft Office 2001 for Mac
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Article ID: 272766 - Last Review: 01/29/2007 06:06:38 - Revision: 3.1

  • Microsoft Excel 2001 for Mac
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2001 for Mac
  • Microsoft Word 2001 for Mac
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