Some users of an older version of Microsoft Office may find that their protected documents are now not only protected, but completely inaccessible.
Microsoft warned on Friday that a glitch is causing users of Office 2003 to be unable to access files protected using Microsoft's Rights Management Service.
The software maker acknowledged the bug on its Office Sustained Engineering blog and said it is working to fix the issue.
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.
We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and we will provide customers a solution as soon as we can. Any new updates and we will post the information here.
The issue was noted earlier on Friday by the Technologizer blog.