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  1. #1
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    Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    We've run into a very strange problem this morning and I haven't been able to find information on it anywhere. Hopefully someone here can shed some light on the subject.

    About 3 or 4 years ago I created an Administrative Install of Office 2000 SR1a to a server, built a custom MST file to apply during install, and we've been using that happily on 15,000+ machines ever since! Well, today, I've had close to 20 reports now that people are getting prompted by the Registration Wizard with the following question: "Would you like to register your copy of Microsoft Office 2000 SR-1 Professional With Microsoft?" and then a YES and NO button. So far everyone has been pushing No and continuing on. The odd thing is that everyone should be installed from our Administrative install and I input the registration key when installing it that way on the server.

    And the odd thing is only a few people, thankfully so far, have seen this today. I'm still trying to track down what may have changed or may be different on these machines and anything new I learn I'll post here, but if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears!

  2. #2
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    Re: Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    Check whether on the problem machines were created new user profiles with the same usernames ? (Sometimes network administrators do it for some reasons. As a result you can see multiple folders in "Documents and settings" or "Profiles" folder: <username>, <username>.000, <<username>.001 etc.)

  3. #3
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    Re: Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    Thanks for the suggestion. I checked three of the machines that got the dialog this morning and they all only had one profile. Back to the drawing board....

    Scott

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    Re: Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    The following was just posted to The Register. Hope it's not as bad as it sounds: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/30301.html

    Office 2000 SR-1 registration bug strikes corporates
    By Tony Smith
    Posted: 16/04/2003 at 17:13 GMT


    Microsoft has confirmed reports received by The Register that Windows 2000 PCs running a specific version of Office 2000 have been hit by sudden, unexpected requests to continually register the software with Microsoft.

    The glitch could leave thousands of Office users unable to continue using their software.

    The problem appears to centre on the Select Customer - ie. non-academic volume licence purchasers - version of the Office 2000 Service Release 1 (SR-1) running on Win2k. The Office 2000 Product Registration Wizard appears when any Office app is launched and invites the user to register. There's no way to get rid of the Wizard other than filling in all the details each time or clicking Register Later.

    Unfortunately, clicking Register Later more than 50 times renders Office unusable. The Office Registration Wizard was introduced with SR-1 as an anti-piracy measure. Designed to be "simple and unobtrusive while protecting customer privacy", the Wizard requires you to register the product and obtain an eight-character activation code from Microsoft. The Wizard lets you use Office up to 50 times without registering, after which you must register in order to continue using Office apps.

    Unfortunately (again), because of a documented bug in the Wizard, launching Office SR-1 after the fiftieth click causes the Wizard to Unexpectedly Quit. Microsoft has a solution for this particular problem, but it's a 23-step process involving editing Windows' Registry, a perilous process at the best of times. Even Microsoft warns uses that they "use Registry Editor at your own risk".

    If you're brave enough to tackle the task, you can get the Wizard to operate, but until you register, you won't be able to use Office.

    The irony is that that's what Select customers have already done. Corporates buy large volume licences to avoid registering each PC, which just keeps IT staff away from solving real problems.

    Select customers have little choice but to tell their users not to quit from Office apps or shut their PCs down. The Wizard began popping up on PCs yesterday. One source at a major global energy company told us many of the corporate's 70,000 Windows 2000 PCs have been affected. Microsoft support told our source that it has received notification of the same issue from a number of other major European organisations. The problem has been granted a Severity B rating.

    Microsoft confirmed that it has received notification of the issue, and is pursuing a fix. In the meantime, a workaround is available, a company spokeswoman told The Register. What that entails, show couldn't tell us, but our sources claim Microsoft support is telling users to set PC clocks back two years. That suggesting the problem centres on a time-limiting feature in the Office SR-1 code, invoking the re-registration process after a certain time.

    If that's the case - and at this stage we can't confirm that it is - we wonder what other software might suddenly contain such a time-bomb. It's not hard to imagine Microsoft's anti-piracy strategy circa 2000 featuring a plan to periodically require users to verify their right to use their software. If such an initiative had been considered, did the Office developers simply forget to switch off the code - or should we expect similar behaviour from other software too?

  5. #5
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    Re: Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    Thanks for the article! I've been waiting for something like this to come out! I've been working closely with Microsoft and it appears there's some time sensitive code in Office 2000 SR1a that is suppose to prevent the Registration Prompt after 4/15/2003. Unfortunately it looks to me like the softies just coded in a toggle, rather than a hard setting, so Volume License customers who never had to register through the software, now have to! I haven't noticed the 50 times and your out scenerio here. We've found that you just have to click no once and it goes away for good.

    MS is working on a fix, but what that may entail makes me more nervous than the actual issue.

  6. #6
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    Re: Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    I've only seen it on one of our machines and I simply clicked no. The prompt has yet to reappear. Not much out there about this yet, even on MS's site. If anyone could offer another news link or MS article on this I'd be very interested.

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    Re: Office Registration Wizard (Office 2000 SR1a)

    Out of curiosity were you using Microsoft Office 2000 Premium SR-1, build 9.00.3821?

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