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Microsoft Office Mac Suddenly Stops Working – FIX!

December 27, 2012

Update: check this newer post for an Perl script that fixes all directories at once. Keep reading for details on why this problem happens and what the script is doing.

After combing the web for an explanation to why my Microsoft Office Mac suddenly stopped working with several errors similar to

Process:         Microsoft Excel [12421]
Path:            /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft Excel.app/Contents/MacOS/Microsoft Excel
Identifier:      com.microsoft.Excel
Version:         14.2.5 (14.2.5)
Build Info:      Unknown-121010~0
Code Type:       X86 (Native)
Parent Process:  launchd [145]
User ID:         501

Date/Time:       2012-12-10 15:52:31.708 -0500
OS Version:      Mac OS X 10.8.2 (12C60)
Report Version:  10

Interval Since Last Report:          9 sec
Crashes Since Last Report:           1
Per-App Interval Since Last Report:  1 sec
Per-App Crashes Since Last Report:   1
Anonymous UUID:                      XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX
Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread

Exception Type: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGBUS)
Exception Codes: KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE at 0x0000000000000000

VM Regions Near 0:
--> __PAGEZERO 0000000000000000-0000000000001000 [ 4K] ---/--- SM=NUL /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft Excel.app/Contents/MacOS/Microsoft Excel
VM_ALLOCATE 0000000000001000-00000000000b4000 [ 716K] ---/--- SM=NUL

and not finding a solution other than a full manual, and laborious, unistall and followed by a fresh install I decided to look deeper into the issue. By running each Office little helper applications, like Microsoft Query.app (in the /Applications/Microsodt Office 2011/Office/), I found that one of them reported MicrosoftComponentPlugin.framework as “non existent”.

By listing the contents of /Applications/Microsodt Office 2011/Office/MicrosoftComponentPlugin.framework I saw that some of the symbolic links were broken. That gave me the hint to figure out what was going on – for some strange reason the links of several files in the Office directory were being corrupted.
To fix the problem you just need to find all broken links and then fix them one by one

cd /Applications/Microsoft\ Office\ 2011/Office/
find -L . -type l

You should see a list of all the broken links. Like this

find -L . -type l
./MSXML.framework/MSXML
./MSXML.framework/Versions/Current
./MViewLib.framework/MViewLib
./MViewLib.framework/Resources
./MViewLib.framework/Versions/Current
./OfficeArt.framework/OfficeArt
./OfficeArt.framework/Resources
./OfficeArt.framework/Versions/Current
./SmartArt.framework/Resources
./SmartArt.framework/SmartArt
./SmartArt.framework/Versions/Current
./wlmstrings.framework/Resources
./wlmstrings.framework/Versions/Current
./wlmstrings.framework/wlmstrings

Now you need to change to each directory and fix the links. You can do this manually, but since the problem was the same in all directories I wrote a small shell script that helps in this process. All you need to do is to run the script inside the main directory where the links are broken. So taking the list of broken links above notice that there are 3 broken links in each directory. The script fixes the 3 links at once, so you only need to run it once in each directory.
Here it is:

#!/bin/bash

OFFICE="/Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/"
VERSION="14"
RESOURCES="Versions/$VERSION/Resources"

echo "Settings"
echo "Office Directory   : $OFFICE"
echo "Office Version     : $VERSION"
echo "Resources Directory: $RESOURCES"
echo 

sudo unlink Resources
sudo ln -s $RESOURCES Resources
cd Versions
sudo unlink Current
sudo ln -s $VERSION Current  
cd ..

Copy & Paste this to a text file (call it fixoffice.sh), and make if executable by running

chmod 700 fixoffice.sh

If your Office version is different change the VERSION variable. You can determine the version by listing the content of the Version sub folders of the folders with broken links. Example:

ls -als ./MSXML.framework/MSXML/Version

You should see something like:

drwxrwxr-x  4 root  wheel   136B Dec 27 14:50 ./
drwxrwxr-x  5 root  wheel   170B Dec 27 15:01 ../
drwxrwxr-x  6 root  wheel   204B Dec 10 17:15 14/
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel     2B Dec 27 14:50 Current@ -> ?:?

Notice the “?:?” (or similar) in the Current link. If all was ok Current should point to folder “14″ (in this example) which also is the Office version you have installed.

To fix the links run the fixoffice.sh inside the folder that has the broken links.

Once the links are corrected the folder should look like this:

drwxrwxr-x    5 root  wheel   170B Dec 27 15:01 ./
drwxrwxr-x  109 root  wheel   3.6K Dec 10 17:12 ../
lrwxr-xr-x    1 root  wheel    41B Dec 10 17:04 MicrosoftComponentPlugin@ -> Versions/Current/MicrosoftComponentPlugin
lrwxr-xr-x    1 root  wheel    22B Dec 27 15:01 Resources@ -> Versions/14/Resources/
drwxrwxr-x    4 root  wheel   136B Dec 27 14:50 Versions/

After you fix all the links in all the folders returned by the find command your Microsoft Office will work once again!

If you’d like to contribute a script that automates the total process you’ll be considered a “Rock Star”
Good luck. Let me know if this works for you.

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4 Comments
  1. Gary Burkinshaw permalink

    Awesome man. Thanks for submitting the script and solution. I had run into the same issue you had with my Office Suite. All Office programs work again after following your solution. Thanks again.

  2. Bart permalink

    This is a brilliant fix, thanks very much.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. BigDiver
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