I work for an organization that has a fairly old server running some critical apps. We have a road map to move these applications to a new server, but have to support the existing one for the time being.

I am running into an issue opening up .docx files on this server. I have Office 2003 installed (server is a Windows 2000 SP4 machine w/ ~1GB of RAM). I have downloaded the Office compatibility pack from Microsoft and did the regsvr32 %SystemRoot%\system32\ole32.dll command when I received the error message There was an error opening the file.

This did not fix the issue and so I'm stuck with getting the There was an error opening the file message anytime I try to open the .docx file. The file has 2 pictures in it and I believe it was created in Office 2010, if either of those facts are helpful.

What am I missing?

  • 1
    It would be much easier to just use .doc for the time being. – Ramhound Apr 10 '13 at 17:37
  • Actually it would not. We don't always have control over all aspects of the documentation and conversion isn't an option at this time. – mlw4428 Apr 10 '13 at 17:47
  • Part of the problem is that your using the Compatibility Pack designed to work with Office 2007 .docx files not Office 2010 .docx files. – Ramhound Apr 10 '13 at 18:44
  • @Ramhound: Why would that be a problem? Word 2007 can open 2010's docx files just fine, with very minor compatibility issues. I don't see a huge change in schemas between the 2007 and 2010 XML formats. – Karan Apr 10 '13 at 19:45
  • @Karan - I just know that Office 2013 change the schema enough that Office 2010 can't open Office 2013 .docx I never had the chance to use the compatability pack with Office 2003 when Office 2007. I was just pointing out it could be a problem. Whats more likely is either a problem with the installation of Windows or the compatability pack simply doesn't supoprt Windows 2000. – Ramhound Apr 11 '13 at 11:25

Since it's Windows 2000, you may have to get the MS XML services added as well.

You can get it from Microsoft:

Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 6.0

  • I tried that and got "Installation of MSXML 6.0 Parser failed because a higher version already exists on the machine. To proceed, uninstall the higher version and then run MSXML 6.0 Parser Setup again." – mlw4428 Apr 10 '13 at 17:46

What seems to have worked for me is re-running the Office 2003 Setup from the Disk or folder where it was stored. This did work - but doing "repair" from the "Installed programs" control panel did not work - neither did "repairing" the compatibility pack.

Don't know if you've upgraded those servers or not but you can try Libre office which is separated from the old Open office and has fairly good docx support. You can Also try online solutions such as Google drive or MS office 365/one drive

The latest version of the Office Compatibility Pack is not compatible with Windows 2000. You must uninstall it and then install one of the previous versions (either version 1 or version 2 will work with Windows 2000). But first, since you are running Office 2003, you must install Office 2003 SP3 before installing the Office Compatibility Pack. After installing Office 2003 SP3, and after installing the older version of the Office Compatibility Pack, you must not install any of the Office Compatibility Pack Service Packs - none of them are compatible with Windows 2000.

If you still encounter problems after installing the older version, it may be necessary to remove other Office 2007/2010 components from your system before it works. For example, I had to uninstall Visio Viewer 2007 from my Windows 2000 machine and then re-install the older Office Compatibility Pack before it finally worked on my system.

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