Broken Office installs are fun!

Rob Williams

Staff member
As many of you are aware, Microsoft products and I are not on the best of terms. It's not me, I swear. It's Microsoft. I use Windows the "right way" - that is, I don't do any fancy tweaking or install programs that risk causing issues. I keep both the OS and other Microsoft applications up-to-date, including the topic of this discussion: Office.

I've had issues with this product before, and it's not just me. With the 2007 version a couple of years ago, my brother's install somehow corrupted itself and the program became unusable - and uninstallable. As I found out last week, much of the same can happen with Office 2010.

For some reason, Office-related icons decided to stop working for related files. That means that instead of seeing a nice green icon for an Excel file, I saw a default Windows icon, like this:


Some people might be able to put up with something like this, but I can't. It drives me nuts. When I look at files such as those there, they look like they're corrupt, or are system files. All the while, if double-click one, they load up the respective program just fine. Reading around the Web, I tried many tips and tricks to try to get Windows to fix its icon cache, but nothing worked. This was a problem with Office, not Windows.

That lead to an obvious next step: reinstalling Office. But, easier said than done:


I'm sure it's just an installation problem. I'll uninstall it. Or not:


After this attempting to get around this error a few times over, I found a tool floating around the Web that forces an uninstall of the entire suite, and it worked to a reasonable extent. There were a lot of left-over files and folders in various locations though - some that could not even be deleted in Windows (even in Safe Mode). After booting into Linux and purging all the folders I could find, I booted back into Windows, ran CCleaner's registry cleaner, proceeded to purge the 1,000 invalid entries it now found, and then rebooted.

Time to reinstall. *sigh*... or not:


This is where things got super-tedious, because I tried to install the suite multiple times, and each time I had to put in my serial code, wait for it to authenticate, and then proceed to customize my install as I like it (no one needs everything Office comes with), but no cigar. No matter what I did, I could not get Office installed.

Finally, I stumbled on a Microsoft Fix it solution (#50450) and ran it. I didn't expect much given my previous experience with Fix it, but lo and behold, it found the problem and took care of it. After that, I was able to install Office as normal, sans error.

And this, all because I wanted to fix the icons!


No ROM battery

I confess it confuses me. I've been doing Office installs since Windows 3.11. Not even once I remember having had issues. Much less persistent problems with this product. Some of these installations have even been unattended installations over the network to 10 or more machine simultaneously. Heck, today I'm doing a complete reinstall of my laptop in preparation for my trip, and the Office installation went as smoothly as expected.

Maybe this is something specific to 64bit editions of Windows. Or maybe a tremendous lack of luck.


Techgage Staff
Staff member
Hm, did you look at CCleaner at all, Rob?

I had the annoying invisible systray icon problem where during the occasional reboot, random systray icons would be simply "blank" and the associated icon/program functionality wouldn't work even though the tooltips described what the icon was supposed to be. I had to resort to using CCleaner's "tray notification icon" option. It deleted a few hundred MB's of icon & program cache in the AppData folder, and after I terminated and restarted Explorer it rebuilt the cache and fixed the problem completely.

Not exactly your problem I know, but I'd half wonder if some of the other myriad of options the program offers might've worked for ya.

Rob Williams

Staff member
Back to square one:


At this point, I assume if I do a repair install, it's just going to fail like before. Going to just ride this out and put up with the broken icons :mad:

Robert: Yes I did use CCleaner, and I also manually deleted that IconCache.db file. This is a problem inherent with Office, I don't think it can be fixed without just re-installing Office.