Since Microsoft released 2007 and the new .*x file format there have been some compatibility problems – sure you can save your documents in the “old” 2003 format – but you loose some of the extra functionality available for 2007 users.
Microsoft released an installer to resolve these problems allowing 2003 users to open 2007 formatted Office documents. I’m going to explain how to deploy this patch for you AD domain.
Firstly, download the FileFormatConvers.exe file from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=941b3470-3ae9-4aee-8f43-c6bb74cd1466&displaylang=en
Create a directory C:DEPLOY and place the .exe in there. Open a command shell and type the following:
This will extract the files to the directory and you will end up with two main files – 012Conv.CAB & O12Conv.MSI
You now need to place these two files onto a file server share where all your users have read permissions.
Now open up your Group Policy console and create a new policy – I reuse a policy called Software Deploy. Expand out the Computers Configuration and select the Software Settings > Software Installation.
Right-click in the right hand pane and select New > Package.
Browse to the package on the file share you are going to use and select the O12Conv.MSI file and choose OPEN. When prompted choose Assigned (you can also choose Publish but this option will not automatically install the software for your users – it will just make the package available for them to install). Once you have pressed OK you will find the package in your GPO.
Link this GPO to your OU where you keep you computers and do some testing. Read my previous posts on troubleshooting Group Policy if you have any dramas.
Easy as that. Deploying this package via Group Policy is the easiest way to ensure you won’t receive any more support calls complaining that your users can’t open 2007 formatted Office files!