Office 2010; Installation problems and solutions

I installed Office 2010 a couple of weeks ago, and I have just succeeded in getting the help system to work.  After pressing F1, or clicking the Help icon, I was getting a screen saying that the help system was being installed, then eventually (after a couple of minutes maybe) a box saying that the computer needed to be re-booted (yes/no) and a blank help screen in the background.  After re-booting and restarting Office, the whole installation process started again, and if interrupted showed a screen saying there was no help available on this topic.  After much searching, and eventually e-mails to Microsoft support, this is the process that fixed the problem:

  1. Run MS Config, and disable all  start-up programs and all non-Microsoft services.
  2. Re-boot, then find all “Microsoft Help” folders, and rename them “Microsoft Help.Old”
  3. Run a repair installation from the Control Panel “Uninstall a program” tab
  4. Re-boot; – didn’t work.
  5. Disable Microsoft Firewall
  6. Delete new “Microsoft Help” folders (which were all empty this time)
  7. Set up a new user account (as administrator)
  8. Log in under the new account, start Office, and press F1.
  9. Same “installing help” message as before, then the re-start required box.
  10. Rebooted the computer, restarted Office, and the Help works!
  11. Log in to my original account, and that has help as well!

Having gone through all that I find that Microsoft in their wisdom have made on-line help the default, so we get an annoying wait for help (even with a fast cable connection), rather than the instant help we used to get 20 years ago, on machines about 1000 times slower.  Fortunately I remembered a post from Ron de Bruin at Daily Dose of Excel on this very issue.  Click on the box in the bottom right hand corner, showing
“Connected to” and you can select “Show content only on this computer”, which then becomes the default.  If you really want the on-line help you can click on the same box any time, and select it.

Just what was going on in the mind of whoever decided to make on-line help the default, and why they hid the local option away instead of putting it under the help menu, I can’t imagine, but never mind, it’s easily fixed thanks to Ron de Bruin.

So now I’m back to being as productive as I was 3 weeks ago.

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3 Responses to Office 2010; Installation problems and solutions

  1. Harlan Grove says:

    This HAS been a problem since Office 2003. I suppose the rationale would be that corrections and supplemental material could be added to online help but not so easily added to local help (except as part of service packs, but then static until the next one). But my impression is that help file, online or local, aren’t updated. So no good reason for online help.


  2. dougaj4 says:

    Harlan – my thoughts exactly. I could see some point in on-line help if the local help was fixed and unchanging from the time of installation, but seeing as Microsoft updates Office automatically every couple of days or so it really does seem like just an annoying waste of time and effort.

    I don’t know how I avoided the problem in earlier versions. Maybe the option to make local help the default was easier to find, can’t remember.

    On the plus side, if you type a function name and press F1 in 2010, you now get help on the function, rather than the “der, would you like some help with something?” screen.


  3. Harlan Grove says:

    Golly, Excel has achieved a level of help functionality for built-in functions Lotus 123 (and Quattro Pro) had more than 20 years ago! Gee, I sure hope the MSFT programmers responsible for the help system didn’t have to work too many all nighers on that.


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