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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Office 2003 Bug Bugs Users

Users who have protected their MS Office files with a password may be in for a rude shock come December 11. For this is the date when the files protected by passwords will not open, even if you have the password. Now that's computer security at its best.

The bug affects files that are protected using Microsoft's Rights Management Services and the problem has been acknowledged by Microsoft, who is working on a solution. However, till then, users who opted for this type of security for their files will be left stranded. Even with the right password, users will get an error message while trying to open these documents. The problem is only for users who are using Office 2003, files locked using Office 2007 or later should work fine.

On a blog, in fact, on their Office Sustained Engineering blog, Microsoft addressed the issue with the following statement:

Starting on December 11, 2009, customers using Office 2003 will not be able to open Office 2003 documents protected with the Rights Management Service (RMS) or save Office 2003 documents protected with RMS. The following error message may be displayed when attempting to Open RMS Documents using Office 2003:

"Unexpected error occurred. Please try again later or contact your system administrator"

This symptom affects Office 2003 products used in conjunction with RMS, including Word 2003, Excel 2003, PowerPoint 2003, and Outlook 2003. It does not affect Office 2007.

So all those paranoid people out there, who thought locking a file was the tech savvy way to go, and locked their file, will needlessly suffer from this problem. Genuine users, however, who needed the security feature as as part of their work, and used it, are in effect, up s*** creek without a paddle. While Microsoft is working hard to get rid of the bug, in a world where minutes can make or break a deal, this news will indeed be worrisome for them.

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