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Office 2007 Install Cannot Update Protected Windows Files

Recently, while trying to optimize an installation of XP for imaging purposes, we chose to be very aggressive in file deletion, and the first test machine failed to install Office 2007 with this nasty error: "The Windows Installer service cannot update one or more protected Windows files."

In the Event Viewer "System" log, we saw this MsiInstaller error 11933: "Product: Microsoft Software Update for Web Folders (English) 12 -- Error 1933. The Windows Installer service cannot update one or more protected Windows files. SFP Error: 21. List of protected files: c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\40\bin\fp4autl.dll"

We deleted that folder's contents because we saw no point in keeping FrontPage extensions that no one even uses, but Office insists on having them there. So because the solution will not be very obvious to many people slamming into this same issue, and help on the Internet is a bit spotty for this particular error, we'll let you in on how to fix it.

If you haven't already installed 7-zip on your computer, get it now. It rocks, it's free, very fast, and compact. Run the 7-zip file manager from Start > Programs > 7-Zip > 7-Zip File Manager, and go to Tools > Options > System and hit [Select All] and then [OK]. This will associate all of the archive types 7-Zip supports with the 7-Zip File Manager. Close it and follow the rest of the directions.

You'll need access to a Windows XP CD for this one. The file you're looking for is called FP40EXT.CAB and is in the I386 folder on the CD. If you can't find it on the CD or don't have access to a CD, use the built-in search functions in Windows XP to look for that file on your hard drive. Once you've found the file, double-click on it and it should open in 7-Zip. Find the file "fp4autl.dll" in the list, click on it, and click the [Extract] button on the 7-Zip program toolbar.

You will be prompted for a folder to extract to, usually defaulting to your user account's temporary files folder (which is NOT where we want it!) Hit [backspace] to clear the box, and copy and paste (control-v or right-click and "paste) this into the blank instead:

c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\40\bin\

Hit [OK].

Office 2007 will now install without hitting this error. If it doesn't, try going to the Event Viewer (shortcut: Start > Run > eventvwr.msc) and looking through the System long for an event similar to the above. That will at least tell you what file you're trying to get, and using your Google-Fu should take care of the rest.