Office 2003 SP3 Blocks Older File Versions

Need to access older versions of certain Office files and suddenly can't?  Did you install SP3?

If you need to access old Microsoft file formats for early versions of Word, Excel, or Powerpoint -- but you've suddenly and dramatically found yourself unable to do so -- there's an intentional reason from Microsoft behind that conundrum, according to a bulletin put out by Microsoft last month.

The reason for the unexpected incompatibility is that, by default, the SP3 update, which became available in mid-September, blocks the file formats used by these older desktop productivity tools from Microsoft.

Moreover, the same also holds true for the file formats used in older versions of products that just so happen to compete with some of Microsoft's software offerings, such as the multiplatform Lotus Notes and Corel's Quattro spreadsheet and Draw software.

The excuse given in Microsoft's online document is that the earlier file formats from Microsoft and its rivals are "less secure" than the formats in Office 2003 and 2007.

"They may pose a risk to you," Microsoft warns customers.

Planned obsolescence?  If you have important files in older formats, you are certainly going to be up-in-arms over this.  Why do companies - not just Microsoft, BTW - continue to fail to take users' needs into account when making changes like this?

Tags:  office, Lock, Ice, block, file, K, ile