UPDATED: It’s a nightmare scenario: Imagine coming into the office and not being able to access any of your organization’s vital documents. That scenario became reality today for an untold number of Microsoft Office 2003 customers who use Microsoft’s Rights Management Service (RMS), a technology for controlling access to documents.
Office 2003 users receive the error, “Unexpected error occurred. Please try again later or contact your system administrator,” when they attempt to open or save protected documents. The bug affects Office 2003 products including Excel 2003, Outlook 2003, PowerPoint 2003, and Word 2003. It does not affect Office 2007 or Office 2010 Beta, according to Microsoft.
A spokesperson said that the bug was caused by a Information Rights Management (IRM) certificate expiring.
Microsoft has posted a bulletin to TechNet alerting customers to the problem, and says that it is working “as quickly as possible” to provide its customers with a solution. Further announcements will be posted to the blog.
Microsoft released a hotfix on Saturday. The Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 update is required for hotfixes to be installed.