Are receipts causing your update to fail?

Starting with Office 2008, Microsoft changed from a VISE installer to a package installer. A package installer will add a to your Library/Receipts folder.

For users that are getting errors like “there was nothing to update,” this is one more option to try to resolve a failed update. See this page for other options when you get the error “there was nothing to update.” For users that want to do a clean install and update of Office 2008, continue reading for details on receipts.

Delete or use Remove Office

If you reinstall Office from the CD it will put an older version on than what you previous had. Many users simply drag the Office folder to the trash to remove. Using this method, no receipts are removed. This will confuse the Autoupdater into thinking you are already updated. Go to Library/Receipts folder and remove all the “Office2008” receipts. This should allow the AutoUpdater to find the updates needed. An alternative to downloading through AutoUpdater is to manually download the updaters.

Understanding the difference between delete and remove office.


  1. Using “Remove Office” in Office 2008
    1. does remove receipts in Library/Receipts
    2. does not remove Automator Actions in Library/Automator
    3. does not remove Microsoft Preferences in ~/ Library/Preferences **
  2. If you do not update after doing a reinstall, you will get this message in Entourage: “This Identity Cannot Be Opened With This Version of Entourage”. Once you update, Entourage will open. More Info
  3. The original release DVD came with 12.0.0 installed, but later a DVD with 12.1.0 was released.
    1. Those with the original DVD will need to use the 12.1.0 SP1 combo updater then the 12.1.5 combo updater.
    2. Users with the later release will only need the 12.1.5 combo updater.
    3. This info current as of 12/09/2008. In the future, those with the original DVD will always need the 12.1.0 SP1 combo in addition to future updaters.
  4. Whenever you use a package installer:
    1. Log out/in with Shift key down before running updater. This quits all start up items including the hidden ones.
    2. Restart after updating

** In past versions of Office, “Remove Office” did remove preferences. “Remove Office” is never supposed to remove your data that’s stored in the Microsoft User Data folder. However, with any install, it’s advised to backup first.

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