Microsoft: Office SP3 To Auto-Update Next Month

Customers who have not already installed SP3 and that have chosen to receive updates automatically will start to receive the service pack as early as February 27, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an email. The distribution through Microsoft Update is a "gradual process," which means not all users will receive the service pack on that date, according to the spokesperson.

Microsoft last September launched Office 2003 SP3 and touted its stronger security and improved compatibility Windows Vista and Office 2007. However, after installing the service pack, users immediately began reporting inexplicable error messages and being unable to open certain types of files, including older Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Corel Draw file formats.

Microsoft earlier this month admitted it had intentionally blocked some older file formats in order to minimize security risks for users, and offered a complex workaround. But after Corel joined the howl of user complaints, Microsoft offered users a more simple workaround for unblocking the files.

When Microsoft rolled out Office 2007 SP1 in December, it unveiled a new policy that involves letting users know at least three months in advance before automatically pushing out service packs through Microsoft Update, in addition to 30 days advance notice, according to a post on the Microsoft Update product team blog.

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