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Microsoft pulls Office 97 patch

The giant confirms that in certain situations, the latest patch will fail to install properly.

    Admitting its latest service release for Office 97 is faulty, Microsoft today said it has removed an update from its Web site to stamp out the bugs.

    The software giant said it has confirmed certain situations in which the latest Office 97 patch, referred to by the company as SR-2, will fail to install properly. To further address the problems, SR-2 has been "temporarily removed for download," and an updated version will be available as soon as it has been thoroughly tested, Microsoft said.

    The removal of the patch comes just days after the service release drew complaints from users and an advisory from the bug-finding group BugNet.

    Because of a number of installment complaints emailed to its offices, BugNet recommended that users not install SR-2 if they have any Office 97 applications dating from the first half of 1997 installed on their system.

    BugNet also said Office 97 SR-2 will choke if it detects any original Office application on the system, or if the versions of some files are reported inaccurately.

    Although Microsoft originally disputed the BugNet advisory because of what it considered a lack of detailed information, the company said that after testing the patch over time it did discover some problems.

    "If a user installed SR-1 on Office 97 standard, which had the basic application set except the access database, then later installed the database and then SR-1, [the second service release] won't recognize SR-1 because an additional application had been added before SR-1," explained Office product manager John Duncan.

    Users of more recent versions of Office 97 probably will have no problems installing SR-2, BugNet said.

    The new Office 97 SP 2 contains a number of upgrades including support for Euro currency changes and Year 2000 fixes. It also contains the Excel 97 for Windows Auto-Recalculation Patch, but if users don't want to download the new service release, they can download the Excel recalculation patch alone from the Office update Web site.

    For now, Microsoft is telling users of Office 97 to either order the SR-2 CD, off of the Office update site, or wait until the updated SR-2 patch is available again online.

    The new update will be available as soon as possible, Microsoft said.