Q&A How resistant to MS errors are third party Office apps?

Captain Holly

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I have a 2 year old laptop running Windows 10 21H2. I keep it updated with all the MS updates as I receive them. I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my financial stuff, bills that I paid, house expenses, things like that. I went to pay a bill yesterday and got an error saying Windows could not open or locate my spreadsheet. I keep the Excel sheet on a thumb drive, it is not stored on my computer or Onedrive. I got the same error for all of the Office 365 apps.

I tried to fix the problem, re-installed Office twice, no joy. I had to reset the laptop with a clean installation of Windows to get Excel and the rest of Office working again. I don't know how or why the Office problem happened. I did read that there was a problem with Avast maybe a year ago where Avast broke some MS office apps. I had experimented earlier this year with Avast and Bitdefender but a few weeks ago went back to WD with Edge as my default browser.

It could also have been a Windows update that broke Office. I was on vacation last week and left my laptop at home. One of the first things I did when I got home was run the updates MS had sent me and I thought everything was fine. It was after the updates when I found that Excel would not work. That makes me wonder if the MS update was the culprit here.

My question is I wonder if third party apps like LibreOffice or WPS or OpenOffice are less susceptible to MS errors causing problems like this or erasing stored data? This is not the first time something like this has happened. Last year I lost 35 gb of mp3's after a MS update. Everything was fine before that one too. I will change from MS Office if LibreOffice or something like it is more resilient or less likely to be affected by MS updates or possible AV problems. I don't use Word or Excel a lot but I would like it to work when I do need it.

Thanks for any help on this.

C.H.
 

Digmor Crusher

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Can't really answer your question but have a comment. I stopped using 365 about a month ago, too many weird things happening including my whole music folder vanishing one day, Outlook not working, One Drive trying to download files already downloaded etc. So it be gone gone gone. Using Libre Office, rarely use it so not concerned how it compares to MS Office.
 

jogs

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You can always have Libre Office installed so that whenever you have this kind of situation you will atleast be able to open the required file.
As for MS office compatibility WPS is much better, but its better if you try few of the office apps and see for yourself which one can open your documents properly.
What I have noticed myself is that none of the other office apps can open every file properly, so its better to find out yourself.
 

Captain Holly

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Thanks @blackice for the tip, I will run the ram test tomorrow. Every other MS update has run fine on this laptop, except for the one that wiped out my mp3 music folder last year. Luckily, I keep a copy of it on a thumb drive, but it was still a headache to sort it all out. Task Manager right now says I am using 60% of my memory and 4% of the CPU, with 2 tabs open in Edge, one here on MT and one playing Pandora.

I downloaded Libre Office and tinkered around a bit with the calc spread sheet and document writer, it seems OK to me. It all looks to be less complicated than Office 365. I would use the spread sheet a lot more than the writer anyway, just to keep records of our expenses and bill payments. I had only used Word when I was job hunting last year and still have my resume' and a few generic cover letter Word docs saved on a thumb drive. My wife does a lot of writing with Word, she buys the subscription every year from MS and shares it with me. I think Libre Office will work fine for what I need as long as it stays unaffected by any potential MS or other online snafu but I will still keep Office installed in case I need it later on.

Thanks for the help on this.

C.H.
 

upnorth

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Microsoft ( MS ) Office 365 comes with pretty many support " tools " under it's hood and a tip/hint would be to try them and then try open a file or two that you have locally on your PC/laptop.


Personal I got a feeling there is something wrong with the files themselves or a local app setting ( the files sometimes have to be forced to point and open with the correct app/program ) even if they now work also in another Office solution. Windows updates or other software/system changes can sometimes create this type of issues. I can guess the office files on that thumb drive been around a long time and very possible was created in an older Office version. Yes, Office 365 should be backward compatible, but saying it and doing it, is two very different things. Try open one or two files on another machine with MS Office if possible, and also in MS Office Online because you already have an online account if you registered 365, just to see if that works.

Btw, I do hope you and your wifes backups are not only being saved on that thumb drive? Thumb drives are known to go bad and break easy and is not really in general a recommended media for long term or important backups. The basic 3-2-1 backup rule is something you should look into if you haven't already.
 

Sorrento

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Dec 7, 2021
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I have a sub for 365 & my other half uses it on her Mac, I don't use it on this PC as my needs are basic as regards Office Suites - Despite having an Office Sub I use Softmaker or Free Office - Both these update in seconds & can actually be totally removed if I have issues some thing that is near (is) impossible with MS Office - If I really need MS Office I can use it then image back, maybe one day I'll need 365 on as a permeant solution but not now - MS Office is my most disliked program by a fair margin.
 
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Captain Holly

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My laptop passed the Windows ram test, no problems found. Just for another test, I have an older laptop that still works ok, it is on 21H2 also, I keep it updated regularly but I don't use it very often. I checked it just now and it has the exact same problem, Windows cannot find or open the Excel or Word files. I updated the older laptop at the same time I updated the other one last weekend when we got home from vacation. I believe the MS update caused the problem with Office on both laptops. I did not see a need for running the ram test on the older laptop.

I made a test spreadsheet in Libre Calc, it seems to be easier to navigate and use, it also saved to the thumb drive with no trouble. I will keep Office on my daily driver laptop in case I need it but will change to Libre and see how it goes. All I need it for is to track my income and expenses and keep records of bill payment details in case there is a problem with any of that and also to help manage my bank account. Libre looks to be able to do that with a lot less trouble than Office.

Thanks for all your help on this.

C.H.
 
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