You receive an invalid character error message when you install Office XP and Office 2003

For a Microsoft Office 2000 version of this article, see 247366.


When you run Setup for Microsoft Office XP and for Microsoft Office 2003, you may receive an error message similar to one of the following:

Error 1324. The folder path 'Smith/All Users' contains an invalid character.

Error 1324. The folder path '*****' contains an invalid character.


These error messages can occur if the Windows registry contains invalid characters.

NOTE: You may receive one of these error messages for characters other than those shown in the two examples.


Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

To resolve this problem, use Method 1 first.

Method 1: Remove Invalid Character from the Registry

You can search the Windows registry for the invalid character that is displayed in the 1324 error message and replace all instances of the invalid character with the correct character. For example, if the 1324 error message refers to "system32/", you should search for "system32/". If you find any instances in the registry, modify them, so that the registry values correctly reference the System32 folder.

  1. Click Start, and then click Run. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.

  2. On the Edit menu, click Find.

  3. In the Find What box, type the character string reported in the 1324 error message, and then click Find Next.

  4. If you find the problematic string, make any necessary changes, and then press F3 to find the next occurrence.

  5. Repeat step 4 until you locate and change all incorrect references.

  6. On the Registry menu, click Exit.

  7. Re-run Office Setup.

If Method 1 does not resolve the problem, try Method 2 (if applicable).

Method 2: Run Setup Under a Different Profile

If you are using Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), and you are using profiles, the profile under which you are logged on may be damaged. In this case, you may be able to run Setup under a different user profile. If you log on under a different profile, and you can install Office, you need to delete and recreate the problematic profile. Otherwise, you can encounter the same problem when you try to install Office when you are logged back on under that profile.

For more information about removing an existing user profile, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

156826 How to disable and delete user profiles

NOTE: If you have User Profiles turned on and a per-user Start menu, each user who has an existing profile on Windows 98 or Windows Me must run Setup for Office. The only users who do not have to run Setup are those who do not have an existing profile on the computer; when these users log on for the first time, the default User Profile is copied into their profile. This default User Profile includes all of the registry information and shortcuts necessary to start Office programs.

More Information

For additional information about installing Office XP with User Profiles turned on, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

302846 OFFXP: Error message: <office program> has not been installed for the current user

Need more help?

Expand your skills
Explore Training
Get new features first
Join Microsoft Insiders

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?

Any additional feedback? (Optional)

Thank you for your feedback!