Microsoft update: leaves log at root level of startup volume

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
October 14th, 2004 • 2:03 am

In order to be able to download the recently released Office 2004 Service Pack 1 — which fixes almost none of the many bugs identified so far in the product — you first need to update… Office 2004’s Microsoft AutoUpdate program. Which means that you have to activate the bloody thing in the first place, even if, like me, you chose not to activate it when you first installed the software.

So I updated the thing, and launched the updated version and was able to find the Office 2004 update. Still, I need to manage my downloads myself, thank you very much Microsoft, so I managed to find a web download on Microsoft’s web site instead.

But then I went back to the Finder for other things and opened a new window showing the contents of my startup volume. And what did I find there at the root level of my startup volume? A log file left by Microsoft’s updater, of course!

The file is called MAU 1.1.1 Update Log and obviously contains information about which files were updated by the AutoUpdate updater. But what is it doing there at the root level of my startup volume?

Mac OS X has two folders called “Logs“, one in the main library folder and one in the home library folder. You’d think that Microsoft would at least be able to direct their updater to leave the log there. But no — that’s too much to ask. Better to leave stuff all over the place and ask the user to clean up the mess, right?

Then of course I went to see where Microsoft left the log for the Office 2004 Service Pack 1 updater itself. It wasn’t at the root level of my startup volume, because I happen to have installed Office 2004 on a separate partition. Sure enough, the file is there, at the root level of my separate partition. It’s called “Office 2004 11.1.0 Update Log“. More Microsoft mess to clean up.

Thanks, Microsoft. Always nice to know that one can count on uninvited guests to leave a mess behind them.

8 Responses to “Microsoft update: leaves log at root level of startup volume”

  1. Pierre Igot says:

    Forgot to mention that, obviously, a file at the root level of your hard drive requires administrator’s permission to be removed. So if you are an administrator installing the update on various machines, your users won’t be able to remove the file unless they have administrator privileges.

  2. Josh says:

    Sheesh; talk about picking nits! I hate the MS suite too, but more complaints like this and you end up being written off as just another impossible-to-satisfy grump.

    (Hey, at least they’re leaving a log for us to see what the updater installed, right? In my book, that’s progress.)

  3. Pierre Igot says:

    Well, as I’ve had the opportunity to explain several times, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t be using Office. I have to use it because it’s the industry standard and I work for a variety of clients who require it. Over the years, I’ve explored the alternatives, and will continue to do so, but so far no realistic alternative has surfaced.

    So I think “uninvited guest” is a pretty accurate description :).

  4. Bertilo Wennergren says:

    Thanks, Microsoft. Always nice to know that one can count on uninvited guests to leave a mess behind them.

    Uninvited? I’d say you’ve clearly invited Microsoft to your computer, first by installing a MS program, and then by downloading and installing an upgrade to it.


  5. Pierre Igot says:

    Sorry, Josh, but I don’t see what’s so minuscule about an installer that leaves a log at the root level of your hard drive. Do you know of any other application that does this? Do you realize that this means total disregard for OS X’s file/folder architecture? that this file requires an administrator’s password to be disposed off?

    I guess nit sensitivity varies from person to person :).

  6. Dizzy says:

    Pierre: I am with you on this! Just noticed the two logs in my root myself and checked to see if anyone else was as peeved as I am. As you, I want to be Microsoft-free, but that is just not a reasonable option. The “Microsoft User Data” folder in Documents is also very annoying, but apparently one can just move it to Library. Cheers!

  7. Jon says:

    Ahhh! My “Microsoft User Data” won’t seem to let itself be moved! Each time I move it and then boot up Word, it recreates itself in my Documents folder again! Grrr, why can’t Office ’04 be exactly perfect, instead of mostly perfect? Oh well, at least it’s better than its windows counterpart.

  8. Pierre Igot says:

    Jon: Did you try an alias or a symbolic link? Put the folder where you want it, and then put an alias/link to it in the default location. That should work, at least with a link. Alias, I am not sure…

    “Perfect”? Nowhere near as far as I am concerned :). Better than Windows? Probably — although not in terms of performance, I am sure! Word 2004 is awfully sluggish.

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