Reinstall OS X while retaining Office
March 17, 2007 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to somehow keep MS Office while reinstalling OS X?

I just purchased a Powerbook (1.5GHZ G4 12") and I'd like reformat and reinstall OS X (10.4), mostly to get rid of a lot of what the previous owner has on the computer. Things like his user accounts, his music,programs I don't want, etc., but the computer has Office 2004 for Mac installed and it would be nice to keep that. It's been many years since I've used a Mac with any regularity so I'm unsure if what I want to do is even possible. I know it wouldn't really be possible with Windows to do this, since installation of programs involves registry changes and the like and one couldn't simply copy the program folders to a CD/DVD temporarily. But it's been many years since I've used a Mac so I thought it would be worth asking. I failed to turn up anything useful searching here and google.

I know I could install iWorks (included with original software) or Open Office but the one thing I like is Word's Track Changes feature. Open Office does not handle that nearly as well, in my experience with the Linux version, and it doesn't appear that iWorks/Pages 2 handles Track Changes either.
posted by 6550 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Sure. The Microsoft Office application folder is entirely self-contained. Copy it to another volume before reformatting, copy it back afterward. Installation in the first place just involved copying the application from the CD, so you're doing the same thing. (Office does technically have an installation process, but the applications do it themselves if they detect it needs doing -- they call it "first run.") Note you may need the CD key to re-validate the programs.
posted by kindall at 3:29 PM on March 17, 2007

You should reformat and uninstall. Some things get installed globally like custom preference panes, application extensions and other stuff that aren't in his user folder.
posted by mphuie at 7:18 PM on March 17, 2007

Just to clarify, copying to another volume includes burning the entire folder to a CD. All you'll need, as kindall said, is a CD key.

Once you've got that, wipe the drive and install a clean copy of 10.4, the computer will seem shiny and new.
posted by sdrawkcab at 8:21 PM on March 17, 2007

Best answer: All good advice, but here is the procedure.
1. create a new user account for yourself, make sure you are an administrator
2. Make sure the Office folder is in the Applications folder.
3. Restart using the Mac OS X CD (hold the C key)
4. When given the choice select Archive and Install. This will make a new folder called previous systems
5. Log in as yourself and be sure you have access to all that you need and then delete the old user using the accounts control panel.
posted by Gungho at 8:50 PM on March 17, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately the Office disc wasn't included so I'll try Gungho's method.
posted by 6550 at 9:08 PM on March 17, 2007

Just sayin', but you're probably not legally entitled to that copy of Office. Sounds like the prior owner retained the original CD/License when he sold the machine to you.
posted by blenderfish at 11:29 PM on March 17, 2007

Another way to keep Office between installs is to use a separate partition -- just put it there and it'll be fine, even if you wipe your primary partition.
posted by Aanidaani at 3:48 PM on March 18, 2007

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