Sunday, October 25, 2009

Office 2007 File Open/Save Dialog Issue

I have encountered a strange/annoying issue with Microsoft Office 2007 on a laptop with Windows XP SP3 as the operating system. This might affect other versions of Windows, however, I've been unable to confirm this as of yet.

Essentially, the problem was this: when using the file open or save dialog in the Office suite, clicking the drop-down menu at the top of the box in order to choose a location to save/open a file would result in a indeterminate progress bar appearing, with a title that stated "Initializing the Root Folders to Display".

This would remain for what seems like an eternity, before eventually disappearing and allowing the drop-down menu to finally render.

After doing some Googling around, it would seem this is a well known problem, caused by unreachable network drives. Here's a couple of pages, dating back to 2007(!), that discuss the issue:

And this is from Microsoft themselves:

So, it would seem the issue is to simply not use persistent network shares, i.e. disconnect any network drives you might use. Although Microsoft provide some alternative solutions, I feel that they're missing the point: this is a Microsoft application failing to work "properly" with their own underlying operating system!

I have yet to decide on a solution for my own environment; as the network share resides on a small server that's not constantly powered on, a user logon script means the user will be bothered by a rather obtrusive DOS window while the relevant "net use" command times out attempting to connect. I suspect a simple shortcut will have to be the answer.