Just the Fax – Where did it go? Post Office 2003 SP3 Blues

**late breaking edit – A Microsoft KB has come out with a fix:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/967054/en-us**

If you’ve deployed Office 2003 SP3 to Windows desktops you might be experiencing increased call volume today from any customers you have that were used to viewing faxes aka .tif files regularly.  Why?  Good question since it worked just fine yesterday.

To be fair Microsoft publishes a list of known issues at the moment of any update release.  How can they know the issues before it get released?  They beta test the updates.  In regards to Office 2003 SP3 they did pubish a known issue regarding Microsoft Office Document Imaging which isn’t typically installed by Office 2003 but would only be installed during a custom or complete installation.  REGARDLESS of whether or not that program is installed and regardless of whether it is the default .tif/.tiff file opening program those file types will be completely removed.

This patch may have been deployed automatically if you are using WSUS and definitely if you have the default SBS R2 Update Services configuration.  If you are in that boat get proactive.  Your customers will definitely be asking you about this.

Note that most Office 2007 users will be doing just fine; the faxes keep opening up today just as yesterday (see caveat below).  Also, Vista uses a different program, Windows Photo Gallery Viewer, and so is affected in a different way.  Vista users will need to use the Default Program GUI that Vista uniquely has to point to the correct program.  Windows 2003 does use this same program though however it is unlikely you’ll be depolying an Office patch to your server; if you did then this fix applies there too.

As discovered late into this, you also might find it needed if you have used the SBS Outlook Web Access or Remote Web Workplace as apparently Office 2003 Web components might be installed as shown in the following picture.  I found this installed on the SBS server itself and have seen it on Office 2007 machines as well.  Even with Office 2007, a machine that was used to connect to a web page either on your intranet or on the internet that contains an Office 2003 Web Component may install this. This is alluded to in KB828950:http://support.microsoft.com/kb/828950

***end edit***

Office 2003 Web Components

To get that frustrated staff satiated you can perhaps restore the file association.  Yes that’s right.  The entire file association for .tiff/.tif files was removed during the SP.  Why?  Don’t know right now but I’ll edit that in later.  I need this working and like NOW. 

Just know that the Microsoft Office Document Imaging program is a security risk to use and this is what started this mess.  The Windows Picture and Fax viewer is not.

I discovered some help from Leo.  Leo intructs to do this at a run/command prompt (XP only):

“regsvr32 /i shimgvw.dll”

This registers the .dll responsible for things working with Windows Picture & Fax Viewer and puts things back in place quickly.  This string also lends itself to batch file/scripting deployment.

You could also go to the file association editor/selector and having confirmed .tif and .tiff aren’t there you can manually add the .tif entry and then associate it to open with the program “Windows Picture and Fax Viewer”.

Note that this “program” is not a simple executable file.  Instead you can invoke it by running the following string (without quotations):

“rundll32.exe C:\WINDOWS\system32\shimgvw.dll,ImageView_Fullscreen”

Office 2003 SP3 download site lists amongst highlights, this relevant info:

“Changes have been made to the behavior of Microsoft Office Document Imaging. For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 938813.” 

FYI – ***Wikipedia has a nice page on this program***


One response to “Just the Fax – Where did it go? Post Office 2003 SP3 Blues

  1. Pingback: Just the Fax – Where did it go? Pt. 2 …as in ‘why isn’t the default viewer opening up my .tif?’ – Vista edition « Upwards with SBS – SBSisyphus’ Weblog

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