Keep an Eye on Your Software Updates


Users of the Microsoft Office 2004 and 2008 suites for the Mac will want to get a hold of newly issued updates for each suite. They’re available for download now and Microsoft confirms that they enhance not just security but stability and peformance. It’s also increasingly a good idea to track where you can find out more about the updates you receive, as they arrive.

Remember when Apple landed in hot water a few months ago for slyly slipping a copy of Safari for Windows into its software updates that it sent to Windows users? As you’ll see from the chart shown in the link I just supplied, that gambit worked, in spite of the charges of sneakiness that it drew. Here is why it’s good to look into the contents of your software updates.

With many of our operating system and productivity suite updates coming to us in automated fashion these days, we have a right to have some knowledge of what’s being placed on our computers. As I wrote about recently, Apple and Microsoft are both atop the list of reported security vulnerabilities among software vendors. They also do disclose most of what is in their updates. However, most users don’t take the extra step of looking into these disclosures.

Microsoft’s Mactopia-based information on the latest updates to its Mac Office suites provides little information about them. However, the site does link to more complete descriptions for both the 2008 suite update and the 2004 suite update.

As Apple recently demonstrated with its sneaky Safari-within-update move, software providers can go as far as putting entire applications on your computer without your knowledge, through updates. Apple has also demonstrated that this sneaky move worked. I prefer to have clear disclosure about these updates right in front of me as I get them.


James Kahan

If you have run Monolingual or XSlimmer against your Office install you will get an error stating that the software to update cannot be found. Here is the fix from Andrew Murton on the forum at

1) Download the 12.1.1 update directly from Microsoft’s Mactopia website.
2) Mount the downloaded DMG file and copy the installer to your desktop.
3) Right-click the installer and select “show package contents”
4) Navigate to Office 2008 12.1.1
Update/Contents/Resources/package_updatable and open the file in TextEdit
5) Scroll to the bottom and find the line “found_valid_version=False”
6) Change False to True
7) Then delete all the text below until the start of “if not
found_valid_version:” Making sure that line is not deleted!
8) Close the window, it will ask if you want to overwrite the file. Say yes.
9) Close the finder window and then run the installer like normal.
10) Reboot.

The first launch of an Office app after this update will take forever, subsequent launches are much improved after that.

Michael Thompson

Hopefully this update cuts down launch time of their office apps. On Leopard, it takes longer to launch Word than it does to launch Illustrator and Photoshop combined.

Comments are closed.