Office 2000 SP3

Microsoft released Office 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) last week, 2 years after the last major public update for Office 2000. Many individuals and organizations ignored SP2 in November 2000 because it included the Outlook Email Security Update with its file-attachment blocking and other security features aimed at preventing the spread of email-related viruses. With SP3, Microsoft brings Outlook 2000 into parity with Outlook 2002 on file-attachment security: End users and administrators can use a registry entry to customize Outlook 2000's attachment-blocking feature.

The registry entry is the same as for Outlook 2002 except for the version number. In the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook\Security registry subkey, create a new string value named Level1Remove. (Create the Security key first if it isn't already present on your system.) For the value for Level1Remove, enter a semicolon-delimited list of file extensions that you don't want Outlook to block. For example, entering mdb;url would unblock Microsoft Access files and Internet shortcuts.

Bear in mind, though, that SP3 doesn't relax any of the other Outlook Email Security Update features. Code in unpublished forms won't run, and applications that use Outlook data might trigger security prompts. The only way to alter the behavior of these features is for the Exchange administrator to set up the special Outlook Security Settings folder, as described in the "Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit." If your organization doesn't use Exchange Server, you can avoid the prompts only by rewriting the applications or, in the case of third-party tools, obtaining new versions that don't trigger Outlook security prompts.

As usual, you can obtain this service pack several ways. You can connect to the Office Product Updates Web site and let it scan your computer to determine what updates you need, or you can order SP3 on CD-ROM. Administrators can get a comprehensive version, either as a download or on CD-ROM, that lets them update an Office 2000 network installation point.

SP3 updates all Office 2000 programs on your system, whether you have Outlook 2000 only or the entire suite. You must install Office 2000 Service Release 1/1a (SR1/1a) before installing SP3, and if you installed Office 2000 from a CD-ROM, you'll need the CD-ROM during the SP3 setup. SP2 isn't a prerequisite because SP3 contains the cumulative collection of updates since SR1.

And what a collection it is! Reading in the Microsoft Knowledge Base, I counted 29 different hotfixes for Outlook 2000 since SP2, a few of which add support for new registry entries. For example, the Microsoft article "OL2000: Error Message: The Form You Have Selected...Cannot Be Displayed, Please Contact Your Administrator" at http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=285129 describes a new ForceFormReload registry value that makes Outlook load a custom form from its original published location whenever Outlook can't load the form from the local cache. In theory, this setting should cure Outlook's forms-cache corruption problem.

SP3 establishes a new baseline for Office 2000. Any new patches released between now and the end of hotfix support in 19 months (June 2004) will require SP3. If you're planning to stick with Office 2000 for the time being, applying this update will fix many outstanding problems with Outlook and other Office programs without taking away users' ability to exchange particular types of attachments.

Office 2000 Update: Service Pack 3 (SP3)
http://office.microsoft.com/downloads/2000/o2ksp3.aspx

Office 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3)
http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/xp/journ/o2ksp3a.htm

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