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Cannot Apply Office 97 Service Packs in Windows Vista/7/8/10

On Microsoft Windows Vista and above, attempts to apply Microsoft Office 97 Service Release 1 or Service Release 2 will fail. This occurs because the service pack installers are unable to modify the Tahoma font files, fail, and then roll back the changes made. The Tahoma font is a standard file in Windows Vista and above, and not designed to be overwritten, whereas in earlier versions it was installed by certain applications and thus more easily writeable. However, the service pack installers cannot modify the font files even when operating in elevated mode, because the Fonts folder is only writeable by the Trusted Installer service, but not by Administrators.

To resolve requires loosening the permissions on specific font files so the Service Release installer can complete its actions, then restoring the genuine version of the font.

  1. Open an elevated command prompt.

  2. Type:

    cd /d %Windir%\Fonts

    takeown /F tahoma.ttf /A

    takeown /F tahomabd.ttf /A

    cacls tahoma.ttf /E /g Administrators:F

    cacls tahomabd.ttf /E /g Administrators:F

    ren tahoma.ttf *.was

    ren tahomabd.ttf *.was

  3. Apply Service Release 1. Don't reboot.

  4. Apply Service Release 2. Don't reboot.

  5. Open an elevated command prompt.

  6. Type:

    cd /d %Windir%\Fonts

    del tahoma.ttf

    del tahomabd.ttf

    ren tahoma.was *.ttf

    ren tahomabd.was *.ttf

  7. Other Microsoft Office 97 updates can now be applied normally, as they do not attempt to modify the Tahoma font.

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