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We recently posted on the Office File Validation (OFV) back port for Office 2003 and 2007.
In today’s post we’d like to continue the discussion on OFV to discuss deployment-related aspects. The most common questions we are asked relate to the distribution plans and deployment best practices for the updates.
We should take a moment to explain the architecture of the solution so that we can best understand how these updates will be applied. The diagram below illustrates what I am describing in text.
Because existing Office installations have no awareness of the OFV component, the first thing we must do is update the existing installations so that they can be made aware of OFV. In the upcoming release of OFV, updates for WinWord.EXE, Excel.EXE, PowerPoint.EXE, MSPub.EXE (Publisher), and a core component named MSO.DLL. These updates are contained within the corresponding MSPs (MSI Patches) per the diagram below, and target a specific version, 2003 or 2007. These MSP’s will contain additional updates for the respective applications; this includes security updates. These MSPs (patches) can be deployed in any order, as the DLLs added by OFV.MSI are only activated when called by the corresponding updates to the core .EXEs. If you update the core EXEs without installing OFV, file open operations will continue to function in the same manner they do today. This design allows the updates to be deployed separately, if you desire to install and test the core application updates prior to enabling OFV on any system.
The File Validation definitions are installed by a new MSI, OFV.MSI. This MSI will lay down several new DLL’s for your office installation, to correspond to validation for specific formats. OFV.MSI targets Office 2003 SP3 and Office 2007 SP2. As we continue to test and update the binary format validators, it may be necessary to introduce updates or changes to the file validation definitions. In the event that definition updates are necessary, they will be delivered via a new MSP file (in future public updates).
OFV will be available from the Microsoft Download Center first. We will then make OFV available on Microsoft Update shortly thereafter. Much like we do with service pack releases, offering these updates as manual downloads first provides IT with an opportunity to test and deploy the changes on their own schedule. We will post an update to this blog as a notification to IT customers when OFV will be enabled for Microsoft Update / Automatic Updates, and we plan to post the update at least 60 days prior to the updates going live.
Next Troubleshooting Binary Files that fail validation using the Microsoft Office Binary File Format Validator.
Modesto and The Office File Validation Backport team
Yesterday an issue related to Word 2007 surfaced online that is worth a closer look. A Microsoft Answers forum post discussed a defect in Word 2007 pertaining to DOCX files exchanged between Word 2010 and users of Word 2007. It had been reported that some Word 2007 users were experiencing a situation where spaces were “disappearing” when viewing or printing documents sent to them from users of Word 2010.
This is an issue related to how Word 2007 opened files. In other words, the issue is not with Word 2010, it was a defect in the file / open code of Word 2007 that caused the problem. Reports that Open XML caused this issue are not accurate.
We discovered and fixed the issue in Word 2007 as part of a release that first appeared on September 25, 2008, well before shipping Office 2010. It was important enough for us to push the fix through the Automatic Update channel to reach the maximum number of users as quickly as possible. At Microsoft we were able to reproduce the problem on machines which did not have the patch installed for Word 2007, and we are unable to reproduce the problem on machines that have the patch installed. It had also been suggested that Print Spooling services in Windows or the lack of an installed print driver in Word was the cause of the problem. In our testing, turning spooling services on and off did not affect the problem and the presence (or not) of a specific printer driver did not solve or cause the problem.
The easiest way to obtain the fix is to install Office 2007 Service Pack 2.
Make sure Word 2007 users who will receive your documents have this important update for Office, either by installing the patch referenced in the link above or by turning on Automatic Updates.
Yesterday we re-tested this problem based on the information being reported in the forums and on various blogs. There are a few details worth noting:
· If you have already saved the document in an un-patched version of Word 2007 and spaces are missing, unfortunately there is no way to recover them
· Unpatched users who edit the document may cause the spaces to disappear.
We certainly regret any inconvenience this issue may have caused, and encourage all customers to enable Automatic Updates for Office.
We did a double-take upon seeing these reports because this is the type of issue that would normally surface prominently In this case we did not have a high volume of customer concerns. This is likely due the majority of Office users that enable Automatic Update, have installed SP2 or work in a managed IT environment where our updates are pushed to their desktops. People who are current on updates should not experience this problem. In any case, we wanted to take the time to communicate on this issue in hopes that folks who have not updated can do so.
If you patch your 2007 installation to the current update level, and you are authoring documents on patched versions of Word 2007 (or 2010), and you still experience this problem, please don't hesitate to contact us.
This is our Twitter stream: http://twitter.com/officeUpdates
You can send feedback or requests for help regarding files that submit this behavior (for patched versions of Word) via the email link on my blog: http://blogs.technet.com/gray_knowlton. We are very interested to know if users are still experiencing this problem after systems are patched.
Update: Please see additional posts on 2010 SP1:
Announcing Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010
Office 2010 SP1 is Almost HereOffice and SharePoint Service Packs: A Primer
If you followed Microsoft's recent earnings, you saw that Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 have experienced double-digit growth since their May 2010 launch. In my conversations with customers about the reasons why they've deployed Office 2010, they cite the ability to connect and collaborate across the PC, phone and browser and work from virtually anywhere. SharePoint 2010 users are also excited about having a business collaboration platform for the enterprise and Internet. In addition to great customer feedback, industry experts like Tony Bradley at PCWorld and P.J. Connolly at eWeek have also given the products positive reviews.
With today's news from the Windows team announcing the availability of the Windows 7 Service Pack (SP) 1 later this month, some of you may be wondering when the Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 SP1 will be available for download. Microsoft typically releases a service pack 12 to 18 months after a product is launched and you can expect that same timeframe for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010.
The upcoming Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 SP1 will consist of minor updates, including all previously released public updates. For customers that stay current, there's no need to wait for SP1 to deploy. You are already enjoying the advantages of SP1 and can deploy now knowing that you will benefit from all the innovations included in Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010!
To help you deploy Office 2010, check out the Office Springboard Series, which provides helpful information for your Office 2010 migration. To help you deploy SharePoint 2010, check out http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/default.aspx