Last night as I was responding…

Last night as I was responding to an email message, I got a cryptic message when I clicked Send. It was so cryptic–and came amid other odd system happenings–that I failed to see exactly what it said. The upshot was that Outlook 2007 needed to be closed. When I tried to restart it, I got a dialog telling me I needed to reinstall Outlook.

Not good news.

So, I rebooted.

Same problem.

I checked the event viewer and found hundreds of these errors, all associated with Outlook:

Failed to determine if the store is in the crawl scope (error=0x80040155).

Not good. Whatever the heck that means. For more on this problem, go here. I was in flailing mode, however, and didn’t discover that discussion until the next morning.

Next, I tried starting Word 2007 and Excel 2007. Same problem. Word 2003 still worked. So, my next step was to attempt to repair Office 2007. I tried to launch Change from Programs and Features, but was told that the installation was corrupted! Uh, oh!

At this point, I was beginning to suspect either hard disk corruption or registry corruption. I backed up my key files to my Maxtor OneTouch II, and booted to my other Vista drive. It seemingly worked fine.

At that point, I was beginning to wonder about Windows Updates. Perhaps one of them had screwed me over. I worried in particular about this one, which I had been prompted to install after adding an additional 2 GB of RAM to the computer. Yet, that one was installed over a week ago, and the updates installed since that time didn’t seem particularly suspect.

Other suspicious factors include the fact that Outlook 2007’s search ability had stopped working. So, I had run a repair earlier in the day. The repair fixed the search. But, I was beginning to wonder if the repair had somehow set up a chain of events that led to the registry having become scrambled.

I tried launching Word with the /r switch to see if it would fix the registry. No joy.

Yet another factor among the recently changed is the use of the NoRereg registry item. Had it somehow prevented some kind of self-healing that Office 2007 sometimes performs?

The other recently added item were drivers for a ViewSonic 22″ monitor. Costco had dropped the price to $299, and I couldn’t resist. But, to work, it needed special drivers for the 1680×1050 resolution.

Having concluded that the problem simply had to be registry corruption, I decided to drop back to a restore point from the previous day.

That managed to fix the problem.

Now more paranoid than ever, however, I’ve changed my update settings so that it will no longer automatically fetch and install updates at 3 am. Instead, I will review updates and selectively decide whether to apply them.

And, now I’m worrying that the problem will recur. <sigh> It’s always something.

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