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Search Help in Microsoft Office 2007 is grayed out

Posted on 2009-04-10
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
When the blue button with the question mark is clicked, Office 2007 Apps open the Help window. In its upper left corner there is a field where you normaly can input search terms to search the Office help system locally and online.
On one single workstation in our institution this search field is constantly grayed out, in every application of Office 2007 Professional (Word, Access, Excel....) We have deinstalled and reinstalled Office several times, including cleaning of the registry with Ccleaner ´before reinstallation. But the problem is returning every time again on this computer. Installation of Office 2007 on another computer (it is an academic site licence) from this same DVD did not elicit this problem.
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Question by:cr7x
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Expert Comment

by:redrumkev
ID: 24118925
cr7x,

How are you doing?

Try opening Internet Explorer -> Settings -> and reset these. I know this sounds crazy, but IE does support a lot of the help, networking, etc components. The above is from:
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/office2007deployment/thread/95fc977a-5b66-4fff-80e1-92d0d97865f5/

Also - notice the posting (above) which talks about creating A NEW USER PROFILE and THEN, reinstalling office.

Hope this helps,
Kevin
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Author Comment

by:cr7x
ID: 24119145
Hi Kevin,
thanks for your quick response!
I'm not completely sure what settings to reset in IE. I opened IE and then went to Tools-> Internet Options and reset all settings available - but this didn't fix the problem.
Creating a new user account is the last thing I'd like to try since the most important piece of software on this machine controls a mass spec instrument, and this software uses a complex user rights management which is linked to Windows XP's user management.

Can you clarify which settings are critical to reset?
Thanks, cr7x.
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Accepted Solution

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redrumkev earned 500 total points
ID: 24119255
cr7x,

I was suggesting the "rest all settings", if that did not do it, then it is not an IE issue.

Does your university (site license) include MS support? The reason I ask is that I would follow the "create a new profile" path, however, as you mentioned, your situation is much more complex and doing that will create MANY OTHER problems. Perhaps they will know exactly what is different from your current profile to a new one and then you could figure out (with their lead) how to get back to that.

Also - if your user goes to office.microsoft.com -> help and how-to (tab, at top) -> "Browse Help and How-to by Product" (select 2007 Office System, tab) -> all the help topics are available there. I use this (and never use the in-app help) because I find the web page both faster and the results to be better. I can open 2-3 windows and have a search going for Word (problem A), Word (problem B) and Excel (problem C), if I was trying to do something between both apps. You could book mark it at:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/help/FX100485361033.aspx?pid=CL100605171033

I know this is not a solution to your problem, but given the potential can of worms that could be opened by trying to fix this one "grayed out" option, could result in many, many hours of work for you and frustration for the user, when the same information (and sometimes more, including external links) are available via the website.

In the end, it is the "principle" of the situation and a solution should be found, but often in these "principle" battles, I find that I "might win" but the cost (in terms of work, man-hours, down time) results in a HUGE LOSS!

Hope this helps,
Kevin
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Author Closing Comment

by:cr7x
ID: 31569052
Hi Kevin,
thanks for your comment - your solution is not the one I was hoping for, but seems to be very wise, in terms of not jumping into really big problems while trying to avoid minor annoyances.
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