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Microsoft IT

Warning On Office 2007 "Try-Before-You-Buy" 380

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-get-fooled-again dept.
walterbyrd writes with a warning: "Microsoft is pushing Office 2007 with 'try-before-you-buy.' Please don't let your friends and relatives install Microsoft 'trial' software. When Microsoft tells you 'try-before-you-buy,' the 'buy' part is not meant to be an option. Once you 'try' a Microsoft 'upgrade' you can not easily go back, because your files will be replaced by new versions that you need the new software to read." The ChannelRegister article also notes how Microsoft's push goes against the grain of the consumer revolt against "crapware." Read on for an account of walterbyrd's experience with a previous Microsoft trial upgrade.

I remember when my brother-in-law decided to try Office-2003. It was a complete mess. I didn't think I'd ever get it fixed. Here is the story:

Office-2003 installed over his Office-2000. His Outlook-2000 email was reformatted to the new-and-improved Outlook-2003. And Outlook-2003 format is incompatible with everything except Outlook-2003. So when his trial period was over, he could no longer access his email — unless he wanted to buy Office-2003.

Of course, I could not fully remove the "trial" version of Office-2003. Once Office-2003 has been installed, it can not overwritten with an earlier version of Office. Also, you cannot remove Office-2003 and re-install Office-2000, unless you know how to hack the registry. And you can not easily install Office-2000 and Office-2003 on the same PC.

What I eventually did to correct the situation:

- Signed up for my own trial version of Office-2003
- Used my trial version to import my brother-in-law's email file
- Saved my brother-in-law's email in another format
- Backed up his data
- Wiped his HDD
- Restored everything

In fairness, I have not used the trial version of Office-2007. But, after my experience with the trial version of Office-2003, I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Please make sure your friends don't touch it either.
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Warning On Office 2007 "Try-Before-You-Buy"

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  • prompt? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:10PM (#19864079)
    when you go to save over a doc with a newer version it prompts you. it's not MS's fault if your too spastic to read what it says.

    • by soloport (312487) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:14PM (#19864117) Homepage
      trial
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Anglo-French, from trier to try
      3: a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation; broadly : a source of vexation or annoyance
      • by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:22PM (#19864163)
        why would you think if you save over your document in one format, uninstalling said program would roll back your files as well?
        • by ben there... (946946) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:59PM (#19864341) Journal

          why would you think if you save over your document in one format, uninstalling said program would roll back your files as well?

          You'd think that something as important as a "standard" document format wouldn't change enough to become incompatible every 1-4 years.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by timmarhy (659436)
            Oh give me a break! how can you add new features to a product without changing the format, and rending it unreadable by OLD software? XML goes some way to fixing this by having the document itself contain the information on how to read it, as does PDF, that still has it's limit's when it comes time to update XML (already has been an issue in the past with PDF).

            i bet the first open office release isn't capable of opening the latest? oh the HORROR! evil open office lets bash them!

            • by smookumy (1121273) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:48PM (#19864597) Homepage
              Yeah, you're right. The bastards lock me into their upgrade cycle.. every 5 years I have to write a cheque for 0 dollars. /The bastards/
            • by ben there... (946946) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:58PM (#19864635) Journal

              Oh give me a break! how can you add new features to a product without changing the format, and rending it unreadable by OLD software?

              Can you open an XHTML 1.0 web page designed now in an HTML 3.2 browser from 1997 (10 years ago)? Yes, you usually can.

              Any "standard" document format should never become unreadable by old software.

              i bet the first open office release isn't capable of opening the latest? oh the HORROR! evil open office lets bash them!

              I'm not a user of OpenOffice, so I won't comment on that. But I've never had a problem opening TXT or RTF or HTML or PDF. I look forward to the day when the most common rich word processing format is also the most compatible.
              • by kennygraham (894697) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:19AM (#19865201)

                Can you open an XHTML 1.0 web page designed now in an HTML 3.2 browser from 1997 (10 years ago)?

                XHTML 1.0? If you're careful to follow the backward compatibility guidelines.
                XHTML 1.1? Not if served properly.
                XHTML 2 (whenever it comes out)? no.

              • by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @04:39AM (#19865603)
                http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?Fa milyId=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displa ylang=en [microsoft.com]

                Wow would you look at that... you don't actually have to upgrade in order to open new Office files! Just another case of Microsoft forcing people to not necessarily upgrade!
            • by cp.tar (871488)

              how can you add new features to a product without changing the format, and rending it unreadable by OLD software?

              I should think that a properly designed document format would not change a bit but for the most complicated documents, which make use of the new features. Therefore, I don't see why any version of MS Office shouldn't be able to extract at least the text, if not most of the formatting, from any version of an MS Office document - unless the format is either intentionally obfuscated or poorly desig

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Tim Browse (9263)

              Oh give me a break! how can you add new features to a product without changing the format, and rending it unreadable by OLD software?

              Never design software.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          why would you think if you save over your document in one format, uninstalling said program would roll back your files as well?

          As somebody who has done consumer level tech support, I NEVER make these assumptions, and neither should Microsoft. I would (like) to think that Microsoft would set the default save file method to be that of the previous Office Suite installed. It would make sense for trial software. Or at the least have a warning for the naive user that there newly saved files are not backward comp

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by br14n420 (1111329)
            You can find flaws in anything you dislike already. It's too easy.

            It seems with Windows threads, folks like you seem to demand every bit of user responsibility must be stripped before it has a chance at being good, but then the restraint placed by the lack of responsibility would just be a new reason to complain.

            As noted in the above posts, most users do not have a problem like these two boobs, since it's common sense that Microsoft will have updated their document formants. It's a given.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              OK, first off Microsoft often says in their PR releases that they design their software to be user friendly (although based on the lowest-common denominator in some cases IMHO). I don't think my suggestion of having the default save format being something more compatible is out-of-the-way (or as you said, "demand every bit of user responsibility"), especially considering that this is supposed to be trial software.

              Perhaps I am biased by my experiences with professional tech support and with helping friends a
          • by timmarhy (659436)
            Your is the only reasonable comment out of the whole bunch - yes they should set the default save format to the original of the file.

            there is only one issue with that, that you might have inserted features in the file not supported under the old format. I'm sure word could warn you about that though, but that still requires idiots to read whats in front of them which is the whole core of this problem to begin with.

            • by cp.tar (871488)

              there is only one issue with that, that you might have inserted features in the file not supported under the old format. I'm sure word could warn you about that though, but that still requires idiots to read whats in front of them which is the whole core of this problem to begin with.

              Well, it's much easier to just code one simple warning - "Well, you might have used some new features, so why not save in the new format?" - than setting up flags to trigger the warning only if new features are actually used.

              In all fairness, MS is hardly the only company guilty of such practice.

              • by timmarhy (659436)
                exactly what i've been telling these nob heads - This is nothing but senseless MS bashing
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by bzipitidoo (647217)

                  The bashing is deserved, and is for the questionable practices of commercial software vendors, of which MS is only one. What looks senseless to us is your blind support of MS.

                  You do know of the many many things MS and others have done? For just MS, I'm talking about things like Windows Genuine Advantage, threatening to sue Linux users over 235 alleged patent violations, threatening flash memory and digital camera markets with patents on the ancient FAT file system, the "defective by design" DRM stuff in

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 70Bang (805280)

          You're adding a twist to the subject at hand:

          There's the software install/deinstall.

          The other is user files.

          Let's put the user files aside for now.

          If you install software, shouldn't it deinstall itself (completely)?

          There are two exceptions: dependencies and things which affect the OS or OS-related processes; i.e.,things which are "bad thing" for the machine's health and function.

          Something like Office, regardless of the version, should be able to remove all software and related changes (e.g., t
    • Re:prompt? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Duhavid (677874) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:27PM (#19864193)
      "His Outlook-2000 email was reformatted to the new-and-improved Outlook-2003. And Outlook-2003 format is incompatible with everything except Outlook-2003. So when his trial period was over, he could no longer access his email -- unless he wanted to buy Office-2003"
      • Re:prompt? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Raideen (975130) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:29AM (#19865021)
        I wish that the full blown Office installation would automatically convert legacy Outlook PSTs to the Unicode format for the extra storage space (20GB by default, as opposed to a 2GB limit). It would prevent me from having to do that manually after an upgrade and there's no automated conversion process [microsoft.com]. I have a problem believing his claims that the trial edition automatically converted the file, but I'll take him on his word. Anyway, you can always export back out to the legacy PST format. He just didn't notice that the PST was in the Unicode format before he uninstalled the trial, since he did the conversion using his own trial installation.

        There's also the Windows Installer Cleanup tool for cleaning up failed MSI uninstallations, which is what appears to have been a large part of the problem getting Office 2000 back on to the system. For obvious reasons, Office 2000 doesn't go out of the way to detect Office 2003 installations, so the problem was probably registry cruft (as it is for so many installer issues).
        • by Duhavid (677874)
          Is the unicode change the only change between them?

          I did not know about the Windows Installer Cleanup tool.
          That is good to know.

          And yes, it would be hard for a previous product version to
          detect a subsequence product installation.
      • Re:prompt? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by grahammm (9083) * <graham@gmurray.org.uk> on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:32AM (#19865041)
        But surely it is wise not to run a trial on your 'live', 'production' data. Is it not much better to either take a copy of your 'live' data and run the trial against that or to have a completely separate set of trial data? In the case of email, set up a test email account which you access using the trial software and continue to use the existing program for your live email, maybe even getting the server to deliver your email to both accounts.
        • by Duhavid (677874)
          Absolutely, it is very wise to run your trial where you can
          guarantee your ability to reverse the change without
          relying on the uninstaller. It would also be wise for someone
          writing trial software for a general product like Office to
          have either the ability to reverse things completely, or
          to at least warn the user that the changes are nor reversible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by erroneus (253617)
      Not that anyone should be surprised, but you didn't even read the summary. This guy's account is that it changed his files without prompting... in the case specifically described, it was the user's Outlook database, not his word docs.

      "Spastic"? How about trigger-happy?
      • by timmarhy (659436)
        err, i did read the outlook problem, and completely ignored it because it's totally incorrect and a plain lie.
    • Re:prompt? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Osty (16825) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:30PM (#19864219)

      If you're just talking about the new .*x formats (.docx, .xlsx), you actively have to work at converting your old files to the new format. If you open an old .doc or .xls in Word 2007 or Excel 2007 and then try to save it, the document will continue to use the old format. New documents will save in the new format, and you can convert your old documents to the new format, but it's not done automatically.

      That said, the linked article is not even talking about any of that at all. It's simply pointing out that some new PCs are now shipping with trial versions of Office 2007, and says nothing about any difficulties of downgrading to an older version. The submitter's summary and story have absolutely nothing to do with the linked article, and are based on issues with a version of Office 4 years and 2 versions older than what's currently available.

      Outlook pst conversion is a different story, but I think the submitter went about it in a strange way. Outlook allows you to export and import your data in many different formats, so I don't understand why he had to install his own copy of the trial just to export some data. More importantly, why would you risk important data without a backup when trialling software that you're not 100% sure you want to keep? That's just bad practice with anything, not just Microsoft products.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by walterbyrd (182728)
        >>Outlook allows you to export and import your data in many different formats, so I don't understand why he had to install his own copy of the trial just to export some data.

        Because my brother-in-law waited until his trial period was over. At which time he could not access Outlook at all.

        But, you are right: if my brother-in-law had saved to a different format before his trial period ended, he would have saved me a lot of work. What could I say? My mother's even worse.
  • by hiroller (994761) <dvan_cuyk@Nospam.hotmail.com> on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:11PM (#19864089)
    I can't speak for the other components of MS Office such as Outlook, Microsoft does provide a compatibility pack [microsoft.com] for word, excel and powerpoint formats which allow someone with an older version of office (XP) view the newer documents.
    • by january05 (1126057) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @02:14AM (#19865187)
      "Journals (Science [biggest journal, of the America Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)], and Nature) have prohibited taking OOXML documents, because they do not correspond to existing standards such as MathML and SVG and are not backwards compatible to Word 2003 and previous. Compatibility packs do not even help.[2][3] As Microsoft will stop selling Word 2003 by July 1, 2007[4], this is a very bad precedent for future-proofing documents.

      1] http://www.sciencemag.org/about/authors/prep/docx. dtl [sciencemag.org] "Because of changes Microsoft has made in its recent Word release that are incompatible with our internal workflow, which was built around previous versions of the software, Science cannot at present accept any files in the new .docx format produced through Microsoft Word 2007, either for initial submission or for revision. Users of this release of Word should convert these files to a format compatible with Word 2003 or Word for Macintosh 2004 (or, for initial submission, to a PDF file) before submitting to Science"

      "Because of changes Microsoft has made in its recent Word release that are incompatible with our internal workflow, which was built around previous versions of the software, Science cannot at present accept any files in the new .docx format produced through Microsoft Word 2007, either for initial submission or for revision."

      "Users of Word 2007 should also be aware that equations created with the default equation editor included in Microsoft Word 2007 will be unacceptable in revision, even if the file is converted to a format compatible with earlier versions of Word; this is because conversion will render equations as graphics and prevent electronic printing of equations, and because the default equation editor packaged with Word 2007 -- for reasons that, quite frankly, utterly baffle us -- was not designed to be compatible with MathML."

      [3]http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/04/math-markup -marked-down.html "Math markup marked down"
              http://www.itwire.com.au/content/view/12608/1023/ [itwire.com.au]
      http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/technology/archives/20 07/06/04/scientists_hold_off_on_that_upgrade_to_of fice_2007.html [guardian.co.uk]

      Nature's analysis of OOXML:
      "We currently cannot accept files saved in Microsoft Office 2007 formats. Equations and special characters (for example, Greek letters) cannot be edited and are incompatible with Nature's own editing and typesetting programs"

      [4] http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=519 [zdnet.com] "July 1: No more Office 2003 for OEMs" by Mary Jo Foley"

      http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/business_ap plications/the_pointless_office_converter_delay.ht ml [microsoft-watch.com] "The Pointless Office Converter Delay"

      "Two important Microsoft topics--interoperability and Office file formats--intersect on the Mac desktop, and they brutally cross like swords.

      Two weeks ago, Microsoft broke a promise made in December: The spring beta release of OOXML (Office Open XML) converters for Mac Office. "
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:11PM (#19864097)
    In fairness, I have not used the trial version of Office 2007.

    How, then, is this even a story? The submitter warns of the impending danger of the 07 trial, goes over his experiences with the 03 trial, and then admits he hasn't even tried the 07 trial.

    A friend of mine bought a Toshiba Satellite with vista from Best Buy, and it came preinstalled with the Office 2007 trial. He used it for a week. He then uninstalled the 2007 trial via the control panel, installed his retail license of 2003 (he was not a fan of the ribbon...), and imported his files without any compatibility issues, including his entire Outlook file, contacts, email, everything.
    • I'll give people some credit in the past as a Word 97 file and an Word 2003 file are both .DOC just with some different contents. However Office 2007's format is .DOCX, and it'll still save DOC just fine. So you can choose if you want the backward compatible version or the new version, and it is easy to know what you chose. Currently we have a some Office 2007 at work but mostly Office 2003. No problems thus far, as the 2007 people know to keep using the old formats and everyone is happy.
      • So you can choose if you want the backward compatible version or the new version, and it is easy to know what you chose. Currently we have a some Office 2007 at work but mostly Office 2003. No problems thus far, as the 2007 people know to keep using the old formats and everyone is happy.

        The menu for types is confusing and makes interchange a PITA. There are three options, "default", "Office97-2003" [ask-leo.com] and "other". If this version is like all of the rest, conversion is one way - in but not out - and 97-200

    • by sid0 (1062444) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:14PM (#19864437) Journal
      Also, IIRC Outlook 2003 has a downgrader for .pst to the earlier versions, in the File menu.

      Slashdot: Your source of daily anti-Microsoft FUD. I'm going to get modded down as troll/flamebait for this and probably lose my karma bonus, but I've noticed kdawson is the worst. Sorry to call you out.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Only if you know it was there and remembered to use it before your trail expired.
  • by x_MeRLiN_x (935994) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:13PM (#19864113) Homepage
    I encountered no difficulties when switching from the Office 2007 trial to OpenOffice.org. It's funny, OpenOffice.org in no way supports the 2007 file format. What happens with Outlook I'm not sure, but the rest of the Office suite doesn't convert any files unless you choose to. It's really not hard to select 'Save in Office 97-2003 format' from a drop down menu on the save dialogue.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by (H)elix1 (231155) *
      It's really not hard to select 'Save in Office 97-2003 format' from a drop down menu on the save dialogue.

      You have the 'commercial' version of Office. One of the nasty surprises for many people I know who picked up the cheaper student/teacher version is it only saves in the Office 2007 format. The older format save is disabled.
      • Nope. That was trial I downloaded.
      • by adonoman (624929) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:20PM (#19864471)
        Ummm... no.

        I have the home/student version and I can click on the funny round office button -> Save as -> Word 97-2003 document. Plus it's trivial to go into options and set the default save format to the old style.
    • While it sounds like the article doesn't talk specifically about Office 2007, I can say from first hand experience that Microsoft hasn't really changed their ways since the Office 2003 trial. I had a client a couple of months back who downloaded and installed the Office 2007 try-before-you-buy trial and installed it on his system which already had Office 2000 installed. Luckily, if we can use that word here, he had already purchased and switched over to Outlook 2007, so his mail was fine, but Office 2007 to
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by man_of_mr_e (217855)
        Sorry, I call BS.

        Office 2007 will save any document you open in it's original format, thus if you open an .doc file from 2003, then click save, it will re-save it in 2003 format. You have to explicitly tell it to save in .docx to get it to upgrade the format. You really don't know what you're talking about if you make this claim.

        What's even more, when you install any version of Office since Office 2000, unless you tell it to delete the old version (it asks you specifically), it will install side-by-side v
    • by imemyself (757318)
      OpenOffice.org in no way supports the 2007 file format

      Wrong, Novell's free version of OpenOffice for Windows includes OpenXML plugins (though I honestly couldn't tell you how well they work). I would assume that the version of OOo they have in SuSE supports OpenXML as well, though I could be wrong. The latest versions of NeoOffice for OS X also support OpenXML.
      • If I was talking about OpenOffice.org Novell Edition I would have said so. OpenOffice.org does not support Office 2007 file formats. Office Open XML support is scheduled for OpenOffice.org 2.3.
    • by mgiuca (1040724)
      No, it isn't hard. But how many of the millions upon millions of average PC consumers out there are going to do it? This is exactly how an entire planet ends up locked into yet another Microsoft file format.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oddman (204968) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:17PM (#19864139)
    The article doesn't say anything regarding the behavior of Office 2007 when installed on a machine with an older version of Office. It's a bare-bones commentary on OEM installations of trials of Office 2007. There is absolutely no indication that the problems encountered by the submitter will come up again.

    So, this scare-tactic post amounts to someone asserting that something bad happened in the past, and might, possibly, maybe, could happen in the future.

    Wow, thanks for the information, I never would have thought of that on my own.

    (Furthermore, does any company that uses trial-ware want you to do anything besides buy the software? Game companies use demos all of the time, AND THEY DON"T WANT YOU TO CONSIDER BUYING THE GAME TO BE OPTIONAL EITHER. But, because this is and MS story on Slashdot, we just have to bash them for every perfectly normal thing that they do.)

    Pathetic.
    • by podperson (592944)
      Game companies use demos all of the time, AND THEY DON"T WANT YOU TO CONSIDER BUYING THE GAME TO BE OPTIONAL EITHER.

      I've never seen a game demo tell me that I had to buy the full game, or my your existing documents and save them in new, incompatible formats without asking, or overwrite older versions of games I had full licenses for. NOT EVEN IN CAPS.

      Given the original poster's experience with Office 2003 free trial, I wouldn't be experimenting with the Office 2007 free trial either.
  • by Robber Baron (112304) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:25PM (#19864183) Homepage
    Ever hear of backups? You know...the thing you do to data before installing a new piece of software? Yeah Outlook 2003 changes the .pst file, but so what? If you took the extra few seconds to copy it before installing 2003 you wouldn't have this problem now, would you? BTW a .pst file is something you ought to be backing up ANYWAY unless you really don't need to read those saved e-mails again. Disk failure, anyone?
    I also have both Outlook 2000 and 2003 clients in an Exchange environment and there is no problem with individual users using either version. The only real source of grief are occasional MINOR formatting hiccups when files are opened with different versions and documents that reference a database for merging purposes, but these are merely annoyances, not critical failures.
    • by TClevenger (252206) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:13PM (#19864429)
      Okay, so you back up your PST, do the upgrade, Outlook converts the PST and then you download more mail into the PST. What good did that backup do you again?
      • by mgv (198488)

        Alter Relationship on 15/07/07 12:13 (#19864429)
        Okay, so you back up your PST, do the upgrade, Outlook converts the PST and then you download more mail into the PST. What good did that backup do you again?

        Actually, this is not a helpful comment. Yes, all users should backup. That is a bit like saying that everyone should stop smoking, drink driving or visiting prostitutes. That doesn't mean that this will actually happen.

        Indeed, the biggest killer feature of OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is automated backups for t

        • Indeed, the biggest killer feature of OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is automated backups for the real world. I cannot see a significant number of home users backing up regularly before this, on any operating system. (Of course, I'm expecting this to be available in a Linux distro at some time around then too). I'm sure there will be a few thousand people on /. who do backup, but remember you aren't like the real world.

          Wow, Apple invented a cool feature this time! Sorry, I meant to type VMS, not Apple.

          Anyway, that's

  • by DodgeRules (854165) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:28PM (#19864195)
    Well, maybe YOU would touch it with a ten foot pole, but I surely wouldn't!
  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:28PM (#19864197) Homepage
    I thought the lessons were generally accepted by this time and for the most part, I think they are. When Windows XP came out, people switched over fairly quickly, but business was a bit slower to migrate. Vista gets released and I have yet to see a business site actually migrate over though I have witnessed a few individuals giving Vista a try... some going back to XP; some still trying to learn Vista's quirks. But so far, there's no business case for rolling out Vista.

    The same goes for rolling out Office 2007. I don't see a business case for it. I have known one business to start migrating over to Office 2007 because there is some collaboration tool they've just *got* to have. I think it's a mistake. But then again, this is a decision made by the same IT "MCSE" leadership that couldn't manage to get Exchange 2003 successfully installed and "lost" their Blackberry server CDs... (As if they couldn't download the software from RIM's site.)

    If there is a business case for Office 2007 or for Vista, I'd be really happy to hear it. But for the moment, I see no functions or features that we need to get our work done or that could help us get it done any better.
    • by gooman (709147)
      If there is a business case for Office 2007 or for Vista, I'd be really happy to hear it.

      Because Bill and Steve would like you to. What more reason do you need?

    • in the accounting department. 5 new Dells with XP-Pro and Office 2007 installed. The IT guy who set them up made sure the default was set to save files in Office 97-2003 mode. It's just the old forced upgrade trick from MS, as usual. I'm in Engineering where we're still using Office 2000. No business case for "upgrading" that I can see.
  • Scare Tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dukaso (1128185) <~> on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:28PM (#19864201)
    Speculation is a great thing, but it quickly loses its luster when stated as fact. The little disclaimer you stuck on the bottom should be right under the headline.
  • FUD. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Txiasaeia (581598) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:31PM (#19864221)
    Scared of the new Office 2007 formats? Afraid that if you save a document in Word 2007, you won't be able to open it in Word XP, 2000, or 2003? Here you go. [microsoft.com]

    This entire "article" is FUD. Say what you will about Microsoft formats, but so long as you're using Word, Excel, or Powerpoint (i.e. not Outlook), there's nothing to worry about. And for the record, I've tried importing the mail from an Outlook 2007 PST file in Outlook 2003, and it works perfectly fine. There's also apparently workarounds for importing 2007 PST files into earlier versions of Outlook - including 2003 into XP, 2000, and so forth - as described here [microsoft.com].

    • by jfinke (68409)
      I like Office 2007. But, I have had government clients (Office 2000) have issues trying to open documents I have saved in compatibility mode (2000-2003). Colors are screwy, text can show up in weird places. They finally installed 2007 on a couple of notebooks just to look at the source documents to finish the project. It wasted a lot of time and added a lot of confusion.
  • dude, this is a bunch of crap- i have office 2007, and it respects old formats. it won't write over it w/ the newer format unless you specifically tell it to.
  • Forced Upgrade (Score:3, Informative)

    by tiny69 (34486) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:41PM (#19864275) Homepage Journal
    Forced upgrades to new versions of MS Office is a normal experience in a large company. Typical senerio:

    One week after a new version of MS Office is release, someone in the company gets a new computer. Unless the company has a strict policy that controls all incoming computer hardware and makes sures that said hardware is reinstalled with a standard baseline image, the company is about to go through a forced upgrage. The new computer is going to have the latest version of MS Office installed. Since it's a new computer, someone important (management) is getting said computer. The first thing the user does is open some important Excel spreadsheet or Access database that is has been deemed critical to day-to-day operations. Because it's a new version of MS Office, the user is asked if they'd like to upgrade the format that the file is formated/saved in. Of course the user will click "OK". Now, this user is the only person that can open and edit this critical file. The next thing the user does after getting a new version of MS Office is create some Word document. As soon as the user saves this document, they email it to everyone in the company. Complaints about not being able to open this document flood the HelpDesk as soon as the user hit the Send button. Instead of complaining about how the latest version of MS Office was allowed into the company without authorization, everyone complains that "so and so has the latest version of MS Office. Why don't I have the latest version of MS Office?" And the company has to shell out $LARGE_SUM to bring everyone up-to-date with the latest version of MS Office one week after it's released.

    Sinse, repeat.... has it really only been 4 years since that last forced upgrage of MS Office?
  • If they've done this before with other trial software, why give them another opportunity to pull their tricks again. "Once burned, twice shy" is not an entirely bad philosophy. I wouldn't expect Snow White to readily eat another apple.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:18PM (#19864459) Homepage Journal
    I use 2002 at work and 2003 on all my home/school machines. I can't for the life of me imagine a scenario where Office has or should be changed dramatically enough requiring an upgrade to 2007. I'm assuming that a few years out there will still be a student version of Office for about $100 where you get to install it on any 3 machines simultaneously. If not, and I doubt it, given the big presence Office has in college bookstores, which is the only reason now to specifically replace a machine or buy a new one, I'll just put on whatever Open Office is current and point it to store in Office 2002/3 formats. If the latest formats are an absolute requirement because of some dumbass teacher then I assume the school will provide a discounted version to support it. Just because Redmond thinks they can force you to upgrade, there aren't too many circumstances where they can.
  • Don't install software on your mission critical machines before you've tested it *elsewhere*.

    For those of you who don't have a spare machine and can't be bothered to get the FREE Virtual PC or VMWare player, Microsoft offers live "remote desktop" style trials on their site.
  • by indaba (32226) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @12:45AM (#19864811)
    After noticing all the free trial ware Office 2007 CD that had been left around campus, I posted a warning re the new default DOCX format on our website ( http://www.flsa.org.au/2007/05/31/beware-office-20 07-trial-cds-theres-a-nasty-catch/ [flsa.org.au] )

    mainly because it's not widely appreciated that it can be difficult to go back to the older file format.

    To my astonishment, within a couple of hours Brian Jones, who is a program manager working on the Office XML functionality had posted a comment to the blog to point out the 27 Meg compatibility pack. http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2007/03/ 12/how-to-create-and-consume-openxml-formats.aspx [msdn.com]

    Wow, this is a little law student website on the other side of the planet from Microsoft, and they have Office program managers patrolling cyberspace looking for any negative comments ?

  • Why not use OpenOffice.org instead ? Agreed, Microsoft Office 2007 is very beautiful to look at and also has made a number of advances in usability. But that does not condone its history of changing the MSWord file format even across different versions of MSWord as well as locking the users to its proprietary format.

    Microsoft has to learn to support open file formats as people now a days are becoming more and more aware of the hazards of vendor lock in.
  • While I've never used the trial version, I can say that I have no problems moving files between 2003 and 2007 and back to 2003 as long as you either:

    a) Save As the 2003 format from within 2007, or

    b) Install the free Compatibility Pack onto Office 2003

    Further, if you open a 2003 file in Office 2007, it opens in "Compatibility Mode" and will ONLY save as a 2003 file unless you specifically tell it otherwise. It even disables features that are strictly 2007-only.

    And uninstalling
  • There is no "consumer revolt against crapware." Consumers gleefully upgrade to the latest product in time, no matter what, and then will complain endlessly about how much they hate computers. The complaints are irrelevant--they don't punish companies for bad software, and they don't stop buying computers or software altogether.

    Fundamentally, most people don't actually realise that computers don't have to suck. They don't know that it's possible to have a good, reliable, easy-to-use computer that does what t
  • Yeah its pretty lame (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prelelat (201821) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @01:46AM (#19865097)
    When I was still working at Dell(not to long ago) it was a big problem because we would load it onto the computers if you didn't order any processing software. There was nothing indicating that the software was trial software and when office 2007 first came out we would have someone get escalated to me about every other week because they couldn't get there files. Pretty much all of them thought it was pretty low.
  • From the web site that is allowing you to try MS Office 2007 - there is a FAQ ! http://us1.trymicrosoftoffice.com/faq.aspx?culture =en-US [trymicrosoftoffice.com] "How do I uninstall the trial ..." is the question that would address this issue. -- The premise for this slashdot story is analogous to "My great grandpa got his arm broke hand cranking one of those Ford horseless carriages. So you should be wary of the 2008 Ford products, or your arm could wind up busted."
  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:31AM (#19865775)
    It would seem, (http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/9280 91), that you can install both Office 2003 and 2007 on the same system. Personally, I think you'd be nuts to do it, but if you want to trial and compare features....

    Should not be trialing s/w on your production system anyway IMHO.

    If you must, backup everything first, and just keep a copy of your email messages on the server. If you have to downgrade afterwards, restore your old outlook *.pst files and re-download the new mails. You'll not get the 'sent' mails, tho..

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Sunday July 15, 2007 @05:47AM (#19865833)
    Slashdot resorts to making crap up?

    What in the hell is happening to this site. Once a good source of fairly trusted information or stories from around the net and now we are finding duplicates of stories everyday, biased submitter comments that don't even understand the articles they are posting and NOW we get opinion on subjects that are complete incompetence or flat out lies.

    How can someone talk about using 2007 Office when they admit they never used it?

    How can we trust an article where the user is SO STUPID that they reinstalled Office to import data when the software installed ALREADY does this automatically if they would just have freaking looked at the options instead of assuming MS is evil and forcing users to into their software.

    This isn't even about MS or Office or Office 2007. This is about an really incompetent computer user proporting themselves as an 'expert' and yet having less knowledge than an average user in the same circumstances.

    Do you think MS would bait people with a new version of Office and then want to pay for 'free' support calls to get the users back to their original versions? Just from a $$ standpoint, this would be STUPID for MS to do, and why this DOES NOT happen as the submitted story suggests.

    Slashdot, this is now to the point where your main articles are making up crap just to try to push the anti-MS FUD.

    So what insane /. headlines can we expect next?

    "Don't install evil Vista because my 3yr old ate keys off the keyboard"

    "Don't use evil Windows Server, when I installed NT 3.51 Server my audio in doom stopped working"

    "Stay away from MS, I drove by their headquarters and bigfoot attacked my car and raped me"

    "I am too stupid to breathe most of the time, but after installing Vista, I forgot how to breathe altogether"

    "MS forces evil DRM on me in Vista because it has something called protect processes that secures parts of the OS from other processes, and even though it wasn't designed for DRM, idiots like me see it as DRM because we are too f**king stupid to know what we are talking about"

    Geesh ..................

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