The Excel 2003 converter (to/from Office 2007 format) is changing file ownership or permissions on a Windows XP Home system when saving .xlsx files and preventing access to them from the network.

We have a three computer network, one XP Home (\\MAIN) with Office 2003 - used by the owner, two Windows 7 Home Premium with Office 2007 used by various employees.

The XP Home system has the master copy of all documents and shares the owner's My Documents with full access by anyone. Either Windows 7 system can open and save documents in Word, Excel, etc. on the XP Home system.

If the XP Home Excel 2003 ever opens a .xlsx format spreadsheet, the converter runs as it is read in and again as it it saved.

THE PROBLEM: After that conversion the Windows 7 systems can no longer open the document via the network.

If details view in Explorer has the Owner column enabled on the Windows 7 systems, those files display nothing for the owner. Prior to that, they display MAIN\nancy or MAIN\administrators.

Access can be restored by taking ownership from the \\MAIN system as MAIN\nancy.

If the files are saved from Excel 2003 as .xls, there is no problem opening them from the Windows 7 systems.

Furthermore, .xlsx created on the Windows 7 systems can be opened, changed, and saved multiple times without losing access.

Therefore something about the converter (which is the standard one from Microsoft) is changing the ownership or the permissions (not sure which).

Can this be configured?

One approach around this is to avoid use of the converter. Set the Office 2007 systems to save in the old format and then find and convert all .xlsx files to .xls. Unfortunately the owner gets sent new or modified spreadsheets by email that are in the new format.

A trickier solution is to write a script on the \\MAIN system that will recursively fix all the ownership / permissions and then make an icon for the owner to click when there is a problem!

The owner really does not understand this but has refused to let us install Office 2007 on her computer (or Office 2010 on all the computers). Perhaps Office 2003 should be installed on each of the Windows 7 computers?


Update - the answer is there is no easy way to change this.

The solution was to update to Office 2010 on all systems. With that in place the permissions problem is no longer there.

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