Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Access97 SR-2 install on Windows Vista: a workaround

Microsoft Access97 works fine on Vista, once you can get it to install. My original install CD is the SR-1 version, and I was alarmed to discover that the SR-2 patch doesn't work on Vista, because Vista's new security model prvents the patch from updating the program files. How do I install the Access 97 SR-2 patch? Fortunately there is a workaround.
I used my old testing laptop and created a WinXP install, and then installed Access97, the ODE Tools, the print relationships wizard, and the service packs for both ODE and SR-2. Then I backed up the files onto an external drive. The folder I used for Access97 was c:\Program Files\Office97 so that these files don't get mixed up with newer versions of office.
Next, I created an install script using Inno Setup, based on the log file created by the SR-2 patch program. After creating and running the setup program, my copy of Access97 reports that it is indeed version SR-2, as shown in the screen shot above.
If you want to use this patch, then you must have done the following:
Delete the HATTEN.TTF (Haettenschweiler) font, and then install Access97 SR-1. I have not tested the install with a pre-SR1 version. Run Access97 SR-1 as administrator (just right click on the shortcut and select "Run as administrator") to ensure that Access has correctly set up all its registry entries.
Only once you have completed these steps is it okay to download and run my Access97SR2Setup.exe file (25MB). Alternatively, you can download the Access97sr2.zip file which contains a copy of the Inno Setup script file. Don't be confused: you can't use this script to actually install Access97 without an original Access97 or Office97 CD, because the script only updates existing files. If you want to install the Acces97 Runtime tester, then follow the link. The runtime version only allows you to run Access programs, not edit Access databases. Also, my installer does not patch Word, Excel, etc.
Update: after installing the patch I have stopped getting a weird compile error when creating MDE files. I guess it was fixed by one of the SR-2 updates or the ODE service pack fix.

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