The where and how of Microsoft AutoUpdate

Reader Tim Phelps, noticing that my attention has been drawn to Office 2008 lately, asks this:

The Microsoft AutoUpdate application appeared this morning and told me that the Office 2008 12.1.1 Update was available. I told it to retrieve it and, after it did, it tried to install. But it locked up during the installation and I had to force-quit the installer. I’d like to try the installation again but I can’t find the update or the Microsoft AutoUpdate application. Can you tell me where they might be?

Microsoft has tucked the Microsoft AutoUpdate out of the view of Spotlight, which is likely why you haven’t been able to find it. You can find it by following this path:

Yourstartupdrive/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/MAU2.0

Inside this MAU2.0 folder you’ll find Microsoft AutoUpdate.

After you download the update you’ll find it by following this path:

Youruserfolder/Library/Caches/TemporaryItems/16807Office 2008 12.1.1 Update

The Temporary in TemporaryItems should give you a clue as to what happened. In all likelihood, when you bailed from the Installer application, the update package vanished as it was intended for temporary use only. The next time you run AutoUpdate (now that you know where it is) it’s possible that it will be downloaded again.

A few suggestions:

You needn’t dig for the application. Instead, from any open Office application, choose Check for Updates from the Help menu. This launches AutoUpdate. Note that if an update is available you’ll have to then quit any running Office applications because the installer is unwilling to do it for you before performing the installation.

Give the update more time to install than your typical Apple update. I updated both my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with this thing and it was really poky. I got a good dose of the spinning beachball after I selected my startup drive. It eventually went away and I was allowed to continue with the installation.

If AutoUpdate isn’t doing the job and you continue losing the package file downloaded by it, feel free to go to this Microsoft webpage and download the update directly. Alternatively you can, of course, pull a copy from the TemporaryItems folder before it’s vaporized.

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