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Corrupted file message when opening files in PowerPoint 2003

Note May 10, 2011: Since this was written, MS has published an automatic update that fixes the problem described here. Look through the information below to acquaint yourself with the problem, but understand that the simplest "fix" is now to apply the May 2011 updates, which will automatically include the hotfix described below. If you prefer to apply the hotfix manually, you can use the instructions below.

[Earlier Note: This originally appeared under a different title immediately after this problem became known; it became a sort of mini-blog covering the problem, workarounds and eventually fixes. For the terminally curious, the original stuff's still way down the page. What you see immediately below is PowerPoint MVP Echo Swinford's description of the current situation. Problem. Where to find the hotfix for it. How to install the hotfix. Elegant.]

Security update 2464588, released mid-April, causes issues opening files in PowerPoint 2003.

When you open a PPT file in PowerPoint 2003, you may see error messages similar to this one:

PowerPoint was unable to display some of the text, images, or objects on slides in the file, "filename", because they have become corrupted. Affected slides have been replaced by blank slides in the presentation and it not possible to recover the lost information. To ensure that the file can be opened in previous versions of PowerPoint, use the Save As command (File menu) and save the file with either the same or a new name.

Microsoft has released a hotfix to correct this problem for PPT 2003. Get it here:

(Click View and request hotfix downloads at the top of the page and see installation instructions at the end of this post.)

The hotfix for PPT 2002 users is here:

If you are having trouble with files you worked on before installing this hotfix (missing backgrounds, files hanging, etc.), you can try these workarounds:

1. Use Insert Slides From File

2. Many users have also reported that saving the file in PPT 2007 or 2010 allows them to work on the files without issue in PPT 2003.

3. Others have reported that unchecking "Check spelling as you type" in Tools | Options | Spelling in PPT 2003 allows them to work on the files without issue.

Note: If you saved a presentation after receiving the error listed above, this hotfix (KB2543241) isn't going to get your data back -- that content was removed when you saved and cannot be recovered. This hotfix just prevents this from happening in future.

Hotfix installation instructions

That's the end of Echo's Essay. A sensible person will stop reading here.

And as promised, the whole ugly history

After applying the recently released KB2464588 update, PowerPoint may be unable to open existing files, insert images or may display other problems. The problems can be so severe as to render PowerPoint unusable.

Microsoft is aware of the problem and has announced that they hope to have a fix available by Monday, April 25. To be perfectly clear, that's "hope" not "promise". Better to have a well-tested fix later than to get one immediately, only to find that it causes more problems.

April 25, 2011: Hotfix available

Microsoft has a hotfix that's intended to correct the problems that the KB2464588 updated causes. You'll find more information about the hotfix and a download link here:

Description of the PowerPoint 2003 hotfix package

Note that if you've opened and saved files AFTER the security update but BEFORE applying the hotfix, the files will still be corrupted. Alyson reported on Microsoft Answers that thes files became usable again after round tripping them through PowerPoint 2007 or PowerPoint 2010.

Here's the original post from Adrian Pa of Microsoft that describes the fix.

If you can't install the hotfis, uninstall the update

MS11-022: Description of the security update for PowerPoint 2003: April 12, 2011 is the Microsoft page that includes removal instructions.

And prevent it from getting re-installed

Once you've uninstalled it, you'll want to hide it so it doesn't keep returning from the dead.

There's a discussion about how to remove KB2464588 going on at Experts Exchange. Scroll way down to where they hide the good stuff.

One of the suggestions there is to use this command line to remove the update:

%windir%\System32\msiexec.exe /package {OfficeGuid} /uninstall
{AB0D3DA9-FC93-4F57-ADE2-B6669749B25E} /QN /L*V %temp%

That should all go on one line; we've broken it up here for legibility.
Replace {Office GUID} with your Office 2003 product code.

Here's another set of removal instructions that also explains how to find the product code.

What if you don't want to (or can't) remove the update?

First, before deciding that it's dangerous to remove the update, consider whether it's really likely to expose you to that much danger. How long have you used PowerPoint without any problems prior to this update? Will your usage patterns (and hence your risk) change THAT much after you uninstall the update? Will uninstalling it expose you to THAT much extra risk? It seems improbable. And compared with the known problem ... no risk here ... of being unable to do your work in PowerPoint at all, it seems a small chance to take. But you (or your IT people) have to make that choice.

So. If you don't remove the update, Microsoft support dude and blogger Aaron Rhykus has some suggestions to help work around the problem

Where can I follow news about this problem?

We'll keep this page updated as we learn more, but if you want to go straight to the source, April 2011 Office Security Update Release will have the most current information.

Did this solve your problem? If so, please consider supporting the PPT FAQ with a small PayPal donation.
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Corrupted file message when opening files in PowerPoint 2003
Last update 16 September, 2012