Publisher cannot open file – Publisher 2007 error

I've just spent the last 30 minutes trying to fix a problem my Dad was experiencing. As with most people in IT I am my parent's IT support.

He writes the local church magazine and has done so for many years. Its all done in Microsoft Publisher.

He's just come back from holiday and found that he can't open any of his Publisher documents. He just gets "Publisher cannot open the file" error. not very helpful.

So where does he go as a home user?  Me.

After managing to get on his machine I starting bing bonging away and find a thread that discusses this. Odly there are some posts from 2007 and some from 2009. (probably due to it being such a generic error message).

Any way the fix is to get hotfix 972566 which reports this to be an issue after you install SP2. Being a good update citizen Dad has auto update turned on.

Now this is an ondemand hotfix that means you have to request it. The steps are as follows.

  1. Find that you need the hotfix (Bing for "Publisher cannot open file" 2007 error and you will find lots of pages but no link to the KB
  2. Find the KB page (
  3. Find the button on the KB page (
  4. Complete the form to get the hotfix downloaded
  5. Find the hotfix in you email, (often its in your spam folder)
  6. Open it
  7. Download the hotfix from Microsoft and save it somewhere
  8. Try an remember where you saved it and open it (its a self extracting exe)
  9. Specify a folder (It nicely defaulted to c:\, I hope it doesn't do that for normal users as they won't have writes to the C drive)
  10. Copy the obscure password from the email to the extractor and start the extraction
  11. Find the folder you specified in 9. and run the hotfix file.
  12. Acknolwedge the EULA and everything
  13. All done.

Now this is the process for the all ondemand hotfixes I am aware of. Its nice that you don't have to contact support to request the hotfix but for a consumer these steps are awful. I think they are acceptable for an sysadmin person who is used to the process but for the normal consumer its a complete nightmare.

Finding the update is difficult enough and I would have expected it on the top issues page, a similar issue is on the page but from 2007

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