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Beta Blocker

Recently, I asked Redmond Report readers about your experiences with the beta version of Office 2010. Over a dozen of you agreed to be interviewed, giving deep insight into this new tool.

But due to space limitations in the magazine, I wasn't able to report on some of the problems you've run into. Take Redmond Report reader Bernie M. Bernie was interested in the new rev of Visio -- particularly because it sports the new ribbon interface -- and was told by Microsoft that Visio 2010 would coexist with his earlier version.

"I tried to open a 2007 doc -- any 2007 doc. They all failed," he said. "The beta had screwed up something in common with the Office 2007 environment. And it prevented any part of Office from being repairable, removable or updateable. I had to strong-arm it out, rip out several key registry sets of keys, then go back to the SP2 checkpoint, reinstall SP3, reinstall Office and make several additional attempts to reinstall Visio and Project 2007," he said.

Frequent Redmond Report commenter Mark D. MacLachlan of The Spider's Parlor also had problems. MacLachlan was a technical previewer and was told by Microsoft he had to move to the beta version. "My primary Office application is Outlook," MacLachlan said. "When I first loaded up the technical preview, I noticed that the default view was by conversation. Initially, I thought that was fairly cool. Then I noticed something bad: I was replying to old messages as if they were new because they were on the top of my incoming mail list. Moving away from the conversation thread was easy enough: I clicked View and Sort by Date. Imagine my surprise when I uninstalled the technical preview and did a fresh install of the beta and found that not only did the beta default to the conversation view, it also did away with the ability to sort by date. Instead, you must select to sort by conversation (date)."

MacLachlan found a workaround: deleting the Favorites folder for his inbox and making a new search folder -- sorted by date -- which he designated as the inbox. "The problem is, if I accidentally click on the inbox under Mail Folders instead of using the Favorite Folders link, I'm back to looking at the conversation view," MacLachlan said.

My guess is these problems will be solved prior to Office 2010's expected midyear release, but I'm using the nearly 3-year-old Office 2007 and it still has some weird behavior.

What's your productivity suite of choice and how is it treating you? Comments welcome at [email protected].

Posted by Doug Barney on February 26, 2010