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Office 2003 SP2 frustrations

A couple of weeks ago when I got the latest and greatest DVDs from Microsoft with my MSDN Universal subscription I noticed Office 2003 had a new service pack. I have not read about any problems so I decided to install all the service packs for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, OneNote, FrontPage, Publisher, InfoPath, Project, and Visio.

For the most part there have not been any problems. The information about Outlook 2003 SP2 on Slipstick sounds promising, but unfortnately I have experienced several issues. Out of the entire suite I use Outlook the most. Guess what application in my opinion was affected the most by SP2? Yep, Outlook.

The first thing I noticed is it changed all my preferences for the Favorite Folders. This ticks me off because it is my favorites, not anyone elses. Several folders were removed, different ones added, and they are ordered differently. Who tested this stuff? And if it met the specs, who the heck wrote the spec to do this?

Next thing I noticed is my contacts. On the contacts page is My Contacts. Like the favorite folders they rearranged the order to be in alphabetical order. So my White Light Customers is now near the bottom, instead of the number one in the list. Stupid spec or stupid testing?

The next thing I noticed is all my plain text emails have the Arial font instead of the Courier New font. Sure enough I hunted down the settings to see they were changed. Why would anyone assume I would prefer their choice over my own?

I am guessing it took me 30-45 minutes to fix everything back to what I had before, and probably another hour to install all the updates. Wonder who I should send the invoice to at Microsoft?

There are a couple of other things that have been tweaked in Outlook that I had to re-tweak and I am not sure I have found all the changes made on my behalf. I can say the changes made to Outlook 2003 (especially in the fight against SPAM and the ability to not show graphics in HTML message) were the driving force to get me to adopt Office 2003 in the first place. Otherwise I was perfectly happy sticking to Office XP. For Microsoft to slam me with preference tweaks when installing a service pack is plain dumb. So if you have not updated to the latest service pack, maybe you should consider sitting on this one.

Off to find a bug reporting mechanism to see if they will address the issue, then back to work.

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