Today my kids told me that the Office software is not working. Here is the error message when they tried to run it. And somehow the problem only occurs to my Microsoft Office softwares: Power Point, Excel, Word (OneNote is not affected).
But if I switch to my account, everything works fine. There are pages of internet posts that complained about the same error dated back to 2010 for Windows 7 (mine is Windows 8). They blame the cause to the anti-virus software. So I followed the advices to remove all my anti-virus software but the problem persist.
In the process, I also tried to upgrade to Windows 10 (it is a by product of trying to solve an issue, a good one). But it still doesn’t fix the problem.
After upgrade I switched to my account and found that I could use all the programs without any problem. While another Administrator account could not run it (same error message). But it works if I right click and then select “Run as administrator“. So it turned out to be an user access control problem again (AGAIN, Microsoft UAC sucks).
Solution 1: Run the application as administrator
So here is how you could fix the error message by running the application as administrator. If you don’t want to do the extra click, you could change the “Compatibility” property of the EXE files (Right click the EXE and select Property->Compatability). Select “Run this program as an administrator”, if you want the change to affect all users, select the “Change settings for all users” below. This solution works if all users have administrator account.
However, for my case, I don’t want to give away my administrator password to the kids account, so I have to figure out exactly what is causing the access failure (as in Solution 2).
Solution 2: Fix the failed file accesses
To figure out which files are causing the problem.
Step 1: Run the Process Monitor software downloaded from Microsoft website
I found an useful tool from Microsoft: Process Monitor. It is a small program ready to run without installation.
After downloading the software, run the “Procmon.exe”. It will automatically logging all the processes and the file/registry operation it attempted to perform. It is good idea to “filter” the display such that only the interested process is displayed.
After some investigation, I quickly spotted 2 items that causing it failed.
- PowerPoint and Excel failed to access “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\oart.dll“
- Winword.exe failed to access “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\wwlib.dll“
You can locate them by doing a search for “Denied”.
Note that there are many other results such as “NAME NOT FOUND”, “FILE LOCKED WITH ONLY READERS” or “BUFFER OVERFLOW”. They seem suspicious at first glance, but they are not real problem. I know that for sure because I saved a log from my success run so that I could cross check the good and bad results.
Step 2: Grant proper access privilege to users
Once you know which file to fix, the fix is relatively easy. Right click on the dll file and select “Security”. You might need to click “Advanced” to change it if you are in the problematic account.
Since the Windows 10 started to use the outlook.com account to do the access control, the previous security setting with local administrator or users somehow doesn’t work any longer. So I tried to add the emails for all my users (granted read and execute privilege).
After doing that, the software started working again!
Hope it also solve your problem. Let us know if worked for you.