Tag Archives: Office2010

Microsoft Office Troubleshooting

Recently, I was asked to talk with our Help Line staff about strategies for troubleshooting problems with Microsoft Office. I spent some time addressing the activation issues relating specifically Office 2010, which I wrote up in a separate post.

The most important point I want to make about general Office troubleshooting is that reinstalling office will rarely fix a problem. Office will kick-off a repair operation automatically if it detects problems with core Office files. Application, heal thyself.

More importantly, a repair operation or uninstall/reinstall process will refresh Office program components, but it won’t touch templates, user and system specific registry information, and add-ins that are the most frequent cause of problems.

Safe mode

The first step in troubleshooting should be to start the application in safe mode. Most versions of Office applications support a safe mode, which doesn’t load templates, registry info, and add-ins. This step quickly determines whether the problem lies with Office itself or elsewhere.

Invoking Office safe mode is as easy as adding the command-line parameter /safe. Usually, I open the Run window (WindowsKey+R), and type the name of the office executable and add the /safe parameter. If you don’t know the executable name, you can find it with the browse button, and then add the parameter at the end:

office14-safemode-run

If the app doesn’t start, then you probably do need to perform a Repair installation. If the application starts successfully (sometimes without opening a document in safe mode), then you know that the core office files are fine, and a reinstall isn’t likely to help.

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Troubleshooting Microsoft Office Activation

Microsoft Office volume license editions have used the Volume License 2.0 mechanism to manage activation since Office 2010. Microsoft Office will activate against our campus Key Management Service (KMS), without user intervention, in a manner similar to the way current versions of Windows activate.

Occasionally, the activation process doesn’t work. Problems are usually related to network communication with the KMS. Below are some steps to identify and resolve problems that might occur during activation.

Gather Information.

Gathering data is essential to fixing problems. If you ask me (or other IT staff) for help with Office activation, the first thing I will ask from you is the output of the commands in the steps below.There are a few steps that will make it easy to collect all the output of your troubleshooting steps.

  • Open an elevated Command Prompt (Run As Administrator)
  • Run cscript /h:cscript, which changes the default script host to cscript, so that output will go to the command prompt instead of a pop-up dialog box.
  • Change the Properties of the command prompt window to increase the Screen Buffer
    height to, say, 3000 lines. This will prevent you losing earlier steps as the lines scroll off the screen.

When you are ready to copy the text from the command prompt, right-click the title bar of the window, select Edit > Select All, and then Control-C to Copy the text to the clipboard. Then you can paste the text to any place you want; an email message, a footprint entry, or a text file in notepad. (No need for images pasted into Word documents; please no!)

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