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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Edit Document' requires a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or greater.

Today’s helpdesk call is a problem I have been asked about several times lately. It is one of those issues that can drive a technical support pro crazy because it only effects some users, happens apparently for no reason, and sometimes fixes itself.
The problem begins when a user has an issue opening files from SharePoint. The files open, that isn’t the problem, it’s just that no matter what the user does the file opens as read only. If the user is selects a MS Word document in a SharePoint document library and select ‘Edit in Microsoft Word’ they may get an error like this:
'Edit Document' requires a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or greater.
or:
'Edit Document' requires a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater.

The frustration begins with the fact that both IE5/6 and Microsoft Office XP or greater are already installed! You might also hear things like “It used to work! ” and “It works for other people!”. After a quick trip to Google this looks like an easy fix. Normally you will find the right Microsoft KB article in just a few seconds ( http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833714 ).
To summarize the solutions in KB833714:

First, if you don’t have Office XP or later, buy it and install it, pretty obvious.

If you already have Office XP or later make sure the feature that integrates with SharePoint is installed.

For Office XP the component “Microsoft SharePoint Support” is the one you are looking for– if it is not installed, install it.

For Office 2003 and 2007 the component is renamed “Microsoft SharePoint Services Support” but still make sure it is installed.

The KB article doesn’t mention this but you can also try uninstalling/reinstalling this component, if it is already in place.

The final method suggested by the KB article has to do with the DLL that handles SharePoint integration. If the steps above don’t solve your problem try unregistering and registering owssupp.dll.

The owssupp.dll is usually located in :
[Drive Letter]:\Program files\Microsoft Office\Office10 (for MS Office XP)
[Drive Letter]:\Program files\Microsoft Office\Office11 (for MS Office 2003)
[Drive Letter]:\Program files\Microsoft Office\Office12 (for MS Office 2007)
To unregister the DLL you go to the command line, cd to the directory that is appropriate for your version of Office and type:
regsvr32 -u owssupp.dll
To register (or re-register) the DLL you type:
regsvr32 owssupp.dll
and we get,
DllRegisterServer in owssupp.dll failed. Return code was: 0x80070716
So, Microsoft is out of ideas and our problem is still here, not good. I’ll pause for a moment while you pound your head against the wall.
Luckily I have spent a little time banging my head against the wall on this issue as well and I think I may have a few other tricks to try.
First, do you remember the different directories that Office can be installed in, depending on the version? It turns out that several people with this problem have upgraded from Office XP or 2003 to a more current version. As far as I can tell the spontaneous break seems to happen during Office updates and some MS Windows Updates. What we need to do is check to see if there are any leftover directories from previous installs of Office. In the [Drive Letter]:\Program files\Microsoft Office\ directory if you have more than one Office## (10, 11, or 12) directory find whichever one has a copy of owssupp.dll in it. Copy the owssupp.dll file into the directory that doesn’t have one. Now check to see if you can edit files from SharePoint without any trouble.

Second when you have tried all of the steps above you may be overlooking the obvious when you test the “Edit” function. Make sure you keep your eyes open for an ActiveX control warning in IE and that you allow the owssupp.dll to do its job.

The third and most hated option for dealing with this problem is the old standby, uninstall Microsoft Office, delete all of its directories, reboot, and reinstall MS Office. Don’t you hate it when that works?
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