Bringing Office on a Mac back from the brink
November 16, 2007 8:27 AM   Subscribe

All the Microsoft Office 2004 apps on my PowerBook (10.4.10) have stopped working. The icons bounce around in the Dock, and a Microsoft Error Reporting application launches, but nothing happens. I've attempted to rebuild my Entourage database but it won't respond; I have also tried fixing the permissions but with no luck. Any ideas?

I do have an enormous (6 gigabyte) Entourage database, but renaming it or emoving it from the relevant folder makes no difference. This problem seems to be affecting all the Office applications. Above all I'd like to make sure I can access my Entourage database, but it would be good to rescue all the applications. Thanks.
posted by skylar to Technology (12 answers total)
Have you tried reinstalling Office?

This will not affect your "Microsoft User Data" folder in your Documents folder, so your Entourage data (if intact) is safe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:29 AM on November 16, 2007

What sorts of errors are showing up when you run the Console application?
posted by kimota at 9:11 AM on November 16, 2007

Is it safe to assume that you've rebooted your system?
posted by enfa at 10:08 AM on November 16, 2007

Did you upgrade to Java 6 recently? That kills Office. Downgrade and they'll work again.
posted by bonaldi at 10:15 AM on November 16, 2007

Response by poster: I have rebooted my system. What should I be looking out for in Console?
posted by skylar at 10:37 AM on November 16, 2007

Response by poster: As far as I know, I haven't updated Java or any system software.
posted by skylar at 10:37 AM on November 16, 2007

Try launching the various Office applications and while having the System and Console logs open. If the applications are reporting any errors to the OS about their problems, they should show up there and potentially give you decent leads on how to fix.

Another thing to try: create a new user in OS X, log in as that user and see if the apps launch okay.
posted by kimota at 10:50 AM on November 16, 2007

Log into the Terminal and run this command:

sudo update_prebinding -root / -force
posted by Silvertree at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2007

Best answer: Go into Home -> Library -> Preferences, and rename the Microsoft folder Microsoft.old. Start an Office app. Sigh with relief.
posted by eschatfische at 3:25 PM on November 16, 2007

Though I suspect eschatfische has nailed it, something else to look into would be bad fonts and bad font caches. They can wreak havoc on Mac OS X. You may want to consider installing a font manager like Font Explorer X, which has options to clean font caches in addition to better font management (imo) than the built-in Font
posted by eafarris at 6:01 PM on November 16, 2007

if you have used Monolingual to remove certain system items, Office will stumble around for a day or two and finally no longer work. I have two Entourage databases that I can no longer access and I lost all of my e-mail from Feb-Nov.

Good luck.
posted by bach at 4:45 PM on November 20, 2007

Response by poster: Thank you eschatfische; that solution worked. I'm very grateful to you and to everyone else who contribute to this thread.
posted by skylar at 1:29 AM on December 17, 2007

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