A passionate programmer’s findings in the world of internet.

Microsoft Office Reactivation after Hardware Failure

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

I write PHP systems for companies. To keep the disaster recovery process easy, I always suggest to buy multiple computers with the exact same configuration. So, when the internal server that runs the PHP program failed, they can recover it by unplug the hard disk and plug in to another PC. Within minutes, the system is up and running again!

With few of my clients running on this same configurations, the actual disaster only happen few days ago. The lightning strike hit the server computer and it failed. Totally dead. Replacing the power supply didn't help.

So, I had to do disaster recover by moving the hard disk to another computer. I didn't realise that Microsoft Office 2007 actually detects what hardware it is running on.

This morning, the Microsoft Office didn't work. It says something like:

The Microsoft office systems detected hardware changes on your computer.

The PHP script that called Microsoft Excel COM failed. It requires reactivation. Reactivation is easy, can be done with just 2 clicks of mouse. But would Microsoft disable the license and ask me to buy another new copy?

A sane mind will agree that evil Microsoft will force me to do so. The office has spent more than RM10,000 on Microsoft licenses. They will definitely find more ways to squeeze more money from us!

Unbelievably, the reactivation was successful.

Although it good for now, I'm not sure whether I will get another message like "You are running a pirated version of Microsoft Office, please get a genuine version" tomorrow.

How to Recover Corrupted Excel File?

Friday, November 28th, 2008

When you an try to open a Microsoft Office Excel file, you get an error message that sounds like:

The file you are trying to open, 'XXX.xls', is in a different format than specified by the file extension. Verify that the file is not corrupted and is from a trusted source before opening the file. Do you want to open the file?

Most of the time, when you get that message, your Excel file is corrupted. Here's a way to get data from your corrupted file.

  1. In office 2007, click on the round office button, then 'Open' (in older versions, go to File > Open).
  2. Select the problematic Excel file. Then, click on the small triangle on the right of the 'Open' button.
  3. Click on 'Select and Repair...'.
  4. Then, 'Extract Data'.
  5. Try both 'Convert to Values' and 'Recover Formulas' ('Convert to Values' works for me).

The small menu at Open button if you can't find it:
Open Button in Excel

Of course, you are going to lose some formatting or data, but at least you still have something.

Hope this helps.

What’s DOCX file? How do I open it?!

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

I made some notes in my Windows Mobile 6 and I thought I could transfer it to my computer to read it. I was very surprised to find the document is in *.docx format. Why would WM6 has a different format and the Active Sync doesn't convert it automatically?!

Frustrated, I search for a converter. And I found that the DOCX is a new file format for Microsoft Office 2007. Suddenly I found my computer is so outdated. And I realize that WM6 came with support for Office 2007. Downloaded and installed a 27.5MB "compatibility pack" recommended by Microsoft.

Finally, my computer recognize the file as a Microsoft Word file, though the icon is not updated. Guess it's a reminder from Microsoft that we should spend money to upgrade..

Details and download here: Open a Word 2007 document in an earlier version of Word

Slow Windows XP Shutdown

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Windows If your Windows XP takes a very long time to shut down, you can try User Profile Hive Cleanup Service provided by Microsoft (yes, Microsoft). The users at digg claimed that it really helps to shorten shut down time. I remember it took a very long time to shut down before I formatted and reinstall my PC not too long ago.

What will it do to your windows?

The User Profile Hive Cleanup service helps to ensure user sessions are completely terminated when a user logs off. System processes and applications occasionally maintain connections to registry keys in the user profile after a user logs off. In those cases the user session is prevented from completely ending. This can result in problems when using Roaming User Profiles in a server environment or when using locked profiles as implemented through the Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP.

On Windows 2000 you can benefit from this service if the application event log shows event id 1000 where the message text indicates that the profile is not unloading and that the error is "Access is denied". On Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 either event ids 1517 and 1524 indicate the same profile unload problem.

To accomplish this the service monitors for logged off users that still have registry hives loaded. When that happens the service determines which application have handles opened to the hives and releases them. It logs the application name and what registry keys were left open. After this the system finishes unloading the profile.

Note that you are required to have a genuine windows to download it. Besides Windows XP, you can use it on Windows 2000, Windows NT and Windows Server 2003 as well.

Microsoft Further Delays Vista

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006

It seems like Microsoft is having fun delaying their upcoming Windows Vista. They first decided to release it end of this year. Then, they delayed it to beginning of 2007. Now, they are going to make us wait another 3 months to improve the product's quality.

In Reuters:

Gartner targets a Windows Vista release in the April-June quarter of 2007, nine to 12 months after Microsoft conducts a second major test, or "beta," release for Vista during the current quarter.

I've upgraded my RAMs for it, but the operating system still has a long way to be released.

Anything you want to say?