Thank you Microsoft

For sucking six hours of productivity out of my life.

It turns out that if you install a smaller MS Office package over a larger one, using the default settings, the extra bits of your old installation get zapped.

Oh, without a by-your-leave. They just disappear.

Bye-bye Outlook!

Fortunately the *.pst file was left behind, so I figured I could reinstall.

Uh, no. Well I could, but Outlook would open up and then apologetically fail, offering the opportunity to send a message to Mr Microsoft. Okay, well maybe I ought to move up to the current Outlook then? That installed, but then failed in an identical way on startup. I tried uninstalling Outlook and reinstalling. The behaviour was the same. I couldn’t even get the thing to open up as a fresh installation.

Reluctantly, I thought, I’d go over to Outlook Express 6. It imported all my messages, but not my contacts. I had to import them using Windows Address Book, which made them available to that. Then I set up my account information. Email receiving worked fine, but email sending … unable to contact server.

I went to do other stuff for a couple of hours. Then I came back and uninstalled every bit of both versions of Office. Rebooted. Installed an even older version of Outlook that I new would act as a totally new installation. I set it up properly, imported all my emails and contacts, and made sure it worked in all respects. Then I installed the Office that was there this morning over the top of that, so I’m back where I was before I started this whole thing.

And that’s where I’m leaving it.

But, seriously, is it good software design to have it delete applications which are not part of it without any warning whatsoever? This is Office 2010 we’re talking about, not some fly-by-night primitive piece of software!

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10 Responses to Thank you Microsoft

  1. Adrian says:

    Maybe it’s time to switch to OpenOffice? 😛

  2. raZorTT says:

    That sucks 🙁

    Fiddling with outlook and office is one of the main reasons I switched to gmail and using IMAP. Not to mention getting an iphone.

    Have you considered linking your domain to google apps? assuming its not an ISP email you are talking about.


  3. Adrian, actually I have been using Open Office for the last six months. It has its good points and bad ones. Bad: takes for ever to start up the first time. Bad: while some Excel spreadsheets open nicely, others are screwed with significantly. Good: the word processor works well and has that auto word complete feature.

    I had the newer MS software to hand, so I thought I’d check it out against Open Office.

    One advantage of all this, the old Office 2002 stuff now seems to be running a little faster!

  4. Simon, I have gmail as a backup — you can email me at stephencharlesdawson @ you know what. I use that for the iPad and iPhone. I haven’t gone to the effort, yet, of learning about how to implement IMAP, and whether I can integrate my current email provider into this (set up an auto forward, I suppose). I fear that one of these days I’ll have to take the time to learn how to do it.

  5. treblid says:

    Outlook is one of the worst apps to walk this planet right now. I’m using outlook @ work and it brings a world of woe, just to read email. Totally broken POS.

    Sorry, I’m usually a very positive person, but I can’t think of anything positive to say for Outlook. 🙁

  6. Adrian says:

    Even back when I had to use a mail client I found it clunky and annoying, back in the days of dialup. Now I just use web mail and find it much easier than all the mucking about with things like Outlook. Maybe there are features I’m missing out on though? I can be a pain migrating to a new email address, but with webmail, the first time is also the last ever, got heartily sick of having to change email adds when changing provider.

    I find open office to be workable, the most annoying thing is I don’t seem to be able to select a single cell in “excel” equivalent and drag-move it!

  7. Adrian, in Open Office, you put your mouse pointer on the cell of interest, drag to an adjacent cell which selects both of them, then drag back to the original cell, leaving it alone selected. Sounds more complicated than it is.

    One of the reasons I got my own domain ( years ago was very much so that I’d never have to change my email address again. So unless I can find some way of hooking one to the other, web mail will be a problem for me.

    I’m also very reluctant to commit 100% to on-line applications. I hate being completely at the mercy of a working connection (as opposed to managing to get through for a few seconds to up/download email). But I might fold on that one eventually.

  8. Treblid, yes on Outlook. It is horrible. Particularly the HTML editor. Sometimes I copy whole emails into my text editor to remove all formatting, then paste it back in again so that I can apply my preferred font size and colour!

    In Outlook 2002, if you want to choose a font from the dropdown list, you can use the first-letter shortcut. Except that you have to use the first letter before the one you want (U rather than V, for example)!

    And then there was the great email destruction of 2006 when my *.pst file got to 2GB and became corrupted and irreparable. No warning. I always thought that Outlook’s habit of putting absolutely everything in just one file was lunacy.

    But is there another email client/contacts/calendar manager around that is widely supported for syncing and the like?

  9. Adrian says:

    Cheers, though there must be some way to do it, but couldn’t figure out what and didn’t want to RTFM.

    In gmail it is super easy to forward your mail whereever you like, I use this feature a lot, consolidating verious accounts. I don’t find being at the mercy of on-line applications to be a problem, it’s far more likely to be “down” at my end than Google to be down, and even when my home network is down I can access via iphone or whatever.

  10. Simon Reidy says:

    You mean people still deliberately use Outlook?! I thought it was now only used in dated Government office environments by unhappy public servants, but I certainly don’t know any friends that would torture themselves like that! 🙂 Pretty much everyone I know has evolved to Gmail. Once you get your head around Gmail’s labels, conversation threading, advanced filtering options and the perfect integration with other services like search, contacts, docs and calendars (and Picasa and Google+ if you use them) you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!

    You can even import all your old emails in .pst format and have everything neatly archived. There is also offline support so need to worry about accessibility of emails when away from the net (to an extent anyway – obviously it depends how much is cached). You can also export your mail and other settings whenever you want if you’re afraid of losing data and want to back it up elsewhere.

    As for setting up Google with an iOS device, using the Exchange protocol is far superior to IMAP. It allows push mail (as opposed to setting a “fetch interval”) as well as perfectly synced contacts and calendars. Emails are sent out instantly and it’s better on your battery as it’s not checking the server every few minutes for new mail. To set it up, avoid the inbuilt Google option when adding your Gmail account to iPhone/iPad, and select “Exchange” instead. Then just follow the easy setup instructions from the link below and you’ll have it up and running in 5 minutes.

    I rely exclusively on Google for all my mail, calendar and contact needs and haven’t had a single problem in the two years I’ve been using GoogleSync on a daily basis. It’s also well worth spending the time in the “Labs section” of Gmail, Google Contacts and Calendar as they have added some brilliant experimental features over the last 12 months which aren’t enabled by default.

    If you’re a Microsoft Word and/or Excel user it’s also worth installing the excellent Google Cloud Connect add-in for MS Office which enables perfect syncing and online backup of all your office documents. Get if for free from here ->

    Google Docs is a fantastic way to backup your work online and have it synced perfectly with your desktop. Not to mention it incorporates many cool features like easy sharing, reverting to older versions of dcos, and real-time collaboration with colleagues.

    My advice is to uninstall Outlook permanently and switch to life in the Cloud 🙂

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