Office 2003 keeps reinstalling and I cannot remove office 2003

Good morning all,
I have a bit of a mystery on my hands that I hope you can help me with.
I have a domain with a Windows 2003 standard edition SP2 terminal server and a Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard edition SP2 exchange server that is the domain controller, Application server, DNS and DHCP.
all runs fine with the domain and alll client machines have office 2003 installed (some Pro some Standard) last week I decided to start  upgrading all the clients to office 2007 (standard and Plus).

I created 2 folders (one for 07 Plus and one for 07Standard) in a shared folder (called APPS) on the exchange server where there were already some folders for the previous Office 2003 versions which we would run and install the software once a new client PC was joined to the domain.
I then copied the contents of the CDs to each corresponding folder.

I then started from a client PC that had Office 2003 Standard installed and navigated to the shared folder on the server and started the installation process. after a few minutes all was done and I was asked to reboot the PC. After rebooting I tested the applications and there were no issues.

I then went to a second PC this one with a 2003 Pro version and did the same thing as the previous PC except that I navigated to the 2007 Plus version of office and started the install after a few minutes it was done but there was no reboot required as in the other client PC. I rebooted anyway and proceeded with testing outlook.
When I clicked on outlook I got an error message (sorry I didn't save the paper I wrote it in, it was a long day) and I rebooted the PC again as requested but it gave me the same error. I searched online for an answer and found nothing. I then decided to remove office and reinstall it again but when I went to "add/remove programs" I noticed that Office 2003 was still installed (as was 2007) and appeared to never have been removed (yes on install it was told to remove).
I then tried removing 2003 it ran through the process and I no longer saw it on the "Add/Remove programs" I then rebooted and tried outlook again without success. I looked at "A/R programs again and 2003 was back. I then decided to remove everything and used "A/R programs " to remove both 2003 and 2007 and again rebooted.
2007 was gone but 2003 kept coming back. I then installed the " windows installer cleanup" tool and tried removing everything (2003 and 2007) and rebooted.
Then I reinstalled 2007 but had the same issues I then used KB article 928218 ( to remove 2007 and then tried to use the installer cleanup tool to remove 2003 again but it doesn't see any 2003 install even though it's there.

Once I removed 2007 as per article and reinstalled it again, I tried outlook again and this time it opened but it kept giving me a message that it wasn't the default e-mail software and to change it. I then started getting the message "The file ExSec32.dll is incompatible with Microsoft Office Outlook. Install Outlook again" (see attached).
I tried removing 2003 again and again via "A/R Programs" and no luck.
now no office software works on this PC and I stopped the upgrading of the remaining PCs until this issue is resolved.
I hope I gave you enough info to help me with.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.


SebSystems AdminAsked:
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Do you have a system restore point ? Can you rollback to a time when office 2003 was installed and functioning normally?
SebSystems AdminAuthor Commented:
Hello mirzas,

Tried that but it keeps telling me that it cannot restore to the various dates (and restore points) I tried previous to the install.

Thanks for the quick reply.
No problem, does anything happen if you just boot the machine ?

Does the installation start by itself?

I think the problem here is that you started the installation over network and the user that logged in did not have access to the shared location.

Keep in mind that if multiple users login on a single machine for each of them the wise office starts a mini-installation on first start.
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SebSystems AdminAuthor Commented:
No issues when the PC is booted or when the user logs in.

The user has Admin rights (part of the Admin group).

If I remove the 2003 from "A/R programs" it goes away after the GUI runs. I then close "A/R programs" and open it again and 2003 is back.

Also when I try to open a word doc or any office doc you see the installer start for 2003.
SebSystems AdminAuthor Commented:
I also noticed that this only happens on this user's profile. I just tried removing the profile from the PC and having it create a new one but that same thing happens under the new profile.

When I log on as the admin 2007 is installed and no 2003 to be found.
I've been talking to them here and someone tried to have office deployed via Group policy but never finished the process (he's no longer here) there was a folder in the active directory with "Office software deployment" name and I removed it but still no solution.

As a first step I would try to remove all traces of any office installation. Remove everything and verify it on all user accounts.

After that I would copy the installation to the machine and try to install from there.
I would keep the installation there while trying to run office on all user accounts that will be using it there.

If it works than you can remove the installation.
SebSystems AdminAuthor Commented:
Hello again Mirzas,
I think the issue is related to group policy but i'm not familiar enough to troubleshoot it and pinpoint where the policy is.

I removed the 2003 folders from the shared folder on one of my attempts to fix this  because on the client PC when I would click on the 2007 icons windows installer would look for the install files for 2003 on the shared folder.  When I removed the 2003 install folders from that location it was not able to install 2003 fully and would ask me for the location of the install files. I then put the 2003 files in the folder again and it was able to run the install again.

I now have been able to restore 2003 to the client PC (what a nightmare that was) and it seems to be running fine but I still need to find the solution to the problem so I can continue the upgrade for all other PCs.
As mentioned above I found in active directory a group folder that I deleted put there by the guy  that is no longer here. I also tracked down w/ Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) a policy related to office install and also deleted it.
I really think that the other guy tried to configure a policy for Office installation and never finished or configured it wrong. I think this is the reason why it keeps re-installing itself and when I use 2007 icons after the install it looks for the install files where the 2003 files are.
Causing 2003 files to be installed along 2007 files then causing the multiple issues when starting the applications.

I hope I'm making sense.
Thanks again
Install it from a local machine or enable all user accounts that will use it to be able to access the network location with their accounts.
SebSystems AdminAuthor Commented:
All users are able to access the location on the network.
Tried the local solution but no luck.

SebSystems AdminAuthor Commented:
Issue ultimately was related to "Group Policy" .
There was a GP item placed by the previous admin that installed Office on a per user basis on client PCs.
The policy was working incorrectly partly because it was not removed properly.
Unfortunately I cannot give you specifics because it was fixed by the MS Tech. and  this is way out of my league.
I hope this helps anyone else that has this issue.



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