Word Logo with PainPROBLEM:

If you’re like me, you discovered that the compatability pack for Office XP broke sometime earlier this year.  You can’t open DOCX or XLSX files from outlook.  You get a strange bunch of errors when opening DOCX and XLSX files and end up opening a file with a strange name in the temporary directory when it works.


You have 3 choices:

  1. upgrade to Office 2007 or 2010;
  2. roll back update kb981715; or
  3. find and install a prior version of mso.dll (not recommended).

I chose option 1, as it was was 160 bucks on newegg.  Totally worth more than it would be to dig and fix.  (it also requires a download of the install file, as there is no media)

As to option 2, rolling back the update can be difficult, because I couldn’t find the update.  I didn’t dig, but it may be included in a service pack or corrected by another update.

As to option 3, I don’t recommend it because dll’s frequently have to be registered on the system.  A find and replace could have very bad effects on your office – even breaking it.


MS replaced mso.dll in the update.  However, as far as I can tell, permissions in Vista are messed up.  The program does not have the ability to fix bad registry settings and so ends up in a bad state.  The workarounds that I’ve been reading about sound arduous and annoying, if they work.  As Office XP is 8 years old, I’m guessing good old M$ doesn’t care if the old version is broken.

Hope that Helps.


Sources:  Allen Browne; The Daily Reviewer; Geekpedia