Compatibility and Updates..

Microsoft Office 2003 SP3 update has been released recently so, if you are running this version of Office, now is a good time to get it. The easiest way is to open Word 2003, click on HELP and then select ‘Check for Updates’. Having arrived at the Microsoft Office Online web page, close down Word 2003 as the updates will not run with any Office application still open.

With the advent of Office 2007, no more development is being done with Office 2003, so this is purely a catch up service pack to date. You will also require the original installation media as the update process asks for it.

OK. That aside, we will take a look at the general scene. A problem that arises for many is the installation of newly purchased hardware onto the latest operating system. Although Vista looks like a cosmetically reworked XP, and this is indeed part of the change, there is a considerable amount of code within Vista that is very different from its predecessor. The code changes affect ease of use and security, and in some cases have rendered older utilities useless and/or dangerous.

Note that there is a distinct difference between NEW hardware, and NEWLY PURCHASED hardware. Just because you bought a new printer, scanner webcam or keyboard from a store recently does not mean that it will be compatible with Vista. The product purchased may have been on the shelf of the store/warehouse for some considerable time so, unless it specifically states on the box that it is Vista compatible, assume that it isn’t for now.

What I have done in the past is ask a staff member to find out on the internet if drivers for the operating system in use are available for the product I wish to purchase. If a store will not do this for you, go find another store that will, or go home and check it out for yourself. Do not rely purely on the word of a staff member, and follow him to the computer where the information will be checked if only to ensure that you are not fobbed off with a ‘yes, it will work’ when the store staff member has not checked it out at all.

Having purchased your new hardware, before attempting an installation, go to the hardware manufacturer web site and download the latest drivers available. If there is the full software package available, all the better. With some older products, you may have to initially use the installation CD provided to get the hardware ‘control panel’ because drivers only may be provided.

Video cards deserve a separate mention here. When updating drivers, you should visit the web site of the ‘chipset’ manufacturer, and NOT the name of the manufacturer which packaged and sold the product. The two major chipset suppliers are ATI and nVidia. The exception to this rule is integrated laptop video adapters, and maybe even integrated video found in desktops. For these, you visit the laptop or motherboard manufacturer. 

It is a good idea to check for new drivers and program updates regularly in the early days of a new operating system. Regardless of the time that products are tested, there is nothing like a period out in the wild to bring other problems to the fore. If you think about the different configurations possible in the world of the IBM compatible PC, it is hardly surprising.

There is no time like the present, by the way. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *