UPDATE: Cannot Open Office 2003 Documents Protected with RMS


Previously we blogged that starting on December 11, 2009, customers using Office 2003 would not be able to open Office 2003 documents protected with the Active Directory Rights Management Service (AD RMS) or Rights Management Services (RMS). Additionally, customers would not be able to save Office 2003 documents protected with AD RMS/RMS.  A Hotfix package for this issue was released on 12/12/2009. 


In an effort to reach a broader audience, updates are now available through:


Microsoft Update


Windows Software Update Services


Download Center




NOTE: Although these updates are available to users of all supported languages, the patch descriptions on the Microsoft Update site and Download Center are in English. Localized versions of these descriptions will be available in early January.


For additional information regarding this issue please explore these Knowledge Base articles:


Office 2003 – KB978551


Word Viewer – KB978558


Excel Viewer – KB978557  


Comments (1)

  1. Ronny Ong says:

    Here's what bothers me: KB978558 delivers a newer version of Word Viewer than KB973866 but Windows Update will still offer KB973866 to computers which already have KB978558 installed.

    I believe I understand why MS is doing this. KB973866 is classified as a Security Update (MS09-068) and KB978558 is just a regular Update. I believe that MS wants the patch for KB973866 to get cached in the Windows Installer database so that if KB978558 is uninstalled, it won't leave a vulnerability.

    But seriously, who is really likely to uninstall KB978558? Given that the users of RMS-protected Word 2003 documents is already a tiny minority among users of Word 2003 documents in general, the portion which use Word Viewer (rather than Word) must be incredibly small, and I would be surprised if MS doesn't have telemetry which can statistically prove this. Perhaps there's one enterprise account in the world using RMS and distributing documents to kiosks or single-task workstations, but that's the type of account with Premier Support who would promptly obtain a resolution for any problem with KB978558. Even if they're not, any organization using RMS is not a mom-n-pop shop; it's bound to be using WSUS, so any computer which uninstalled KB97558 would quickly receive KB973866 if needed.

    So basically what I'm saying is that WU/AU should not be offering KB973866 to computers which already have KB978558 installed!