How to REALLY Completely Remove Microsoft Office 2000 CD1

In this article I’ll save you time and angst if you need to completely remove the core applications and tools that come on Microsoft Office 2000 CD1 (the meat and potatoes of the Office 2000 install). Following Microsoft’s instructions doesn’t completely remove CD1, and since it takes about 45 minutes to work through the process, I hope to save you the time I lost doing it twice.

I have frequently used Microsoft’s Knowledge Base article Q219423 “OFF2000: How to Completely Remove Microsoft Office CD1.” As many of you know, I have found that a scorched earth policy is often the only way to resolve a problem with Office (Windows, too, but that’s a tip for another day). A few days ago while I was spell- checking, Word 2000 reported the message “Word cannot find the spelling file MSSpell3.dll or mssp232.dll for English (U.S.).” I looked this problem up in the Knowledge Base and found the relevant article “WD2000: Error Message: Word Cannot Find the Spelling File… [Q240408].” Unfortunately, the article’s solution didn’t work: I did a maintenance mode setup and forced setup to “Update Now” Office’s Proofing Tools, the message continued undeterred. Go figure.

I remembered this happening on another PC a while back, and that I had used an erase-type freebie tool to scorch Office 2000, so I located the aforementioned Q219423 and started reading.

Microsoft’s suggested fix, in a nutshell, is to run setup in maintenance mode, choose the “Remove Office” option, then manually delete a substantial number of folders and files and some Registry keys. Alternately, you can use their “Office 2000 File and Registry Eraser Utility” (a.k.a. Eraser 2000) to do the deletions for you.

I did the “Remove Office” process, ran Eraser 2000, re-installed Office, and the error persisted! My system hung on a mid-process reboot prompted by the Eraser 2000 tool, so it’s possible that caused a disruption in Eraser 2000 finishing whatever it needed to do after the reboot. Also, Microsoft’s steps leave behind a small number of files and folders that it says are innocuous. Lastly, and I think this is the key (no pun intended), it appears that Eraser 2000 doesn’t actually delete the main Office 2000 registry key and its sub-keys that live at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0 (ditto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE…). At least it didn’t get rid of them for me on its first pass. So, here are my amended steps, that work.

1. Make sure you’re willing to have your Registry be edited. You may wish to back it up first. The procedure for doing so is documented in the Q219423 article.

2. There are different steps for Windows 2000 versus Windows 98; what I’m describing here worked for me on a Win98SE PC.

3. To avoid having to tediously reset your Office settings, consider running the free Microsoft Office 2000 “Save My Settings Wizard” tool. For more information:

Once installed, the steps are: Start, Programs, Microsoft Office Tools, Save My Settings Wizard.

4. Run Office setup in maintenance mode.

5. Choose the “Remove Office” option.

6. When it’s finished, reboot.

7. After rebooting when the PC displays its desktop, close all system tray applications. This should help prevent shutdown problems when Eraser 2000 mandates a reboot.

8. Run Eraser 2000.

9. Follow the Q219423 article’s manual deletion steps for folders and files (for Step 5 that includes over 170 files, I confess I looked up a few randomly and since none were found I skipped the rest; your mileage may vary).

10. Follow the Q219423 article’s manual deletion steps for the Registry keys.

11. Manually delete the “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office” folder and any sub-folders below it.

12. Manually delete all files in your TEMP folder (typically C:\Windows\Temp), but not the folder itself.

13. Reboot.

14. Install Office 2000.

15. Run the “Save My Settings Wizard” to retrieve your previously saved settings.

Although I certainly hope you never have to resort to a scorched earth uninstall/reinstall of Office 2000, I know from plenty of client and personal experience that it’s often the only fix.