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Save at the airport with Office 2004

At MacWorld 2007 this past January, Apple released their new 802.11n Airport Extreme Base Station with support for sharing a USB hard drive. Since that release, we’ve seen a few reports here and there that Mac Office 2004 applications are unable to save files to such a shared disk. One of my colleagues had run into the problem at home and reported the bug internally here as well, and it ended up on my plate.
I obtained a new AEBS from our lab and set it up in my office. I rebooted my Intel iMac into Tiger, applied all the recent security updates (that Mac has been running Leopard seeds for a while, so the Tiger partition was a little out of date) and installed the new AEBS software. I then booted up Office 2008 (since that’s easier to debug right now) and tried to reproduce the problem. No luck — Excel and Word both had no problems saving to the wirelessly-mounted disk drive. So, I tried Office 2004. Again, it just worked! So, I sent the bug back to my colleague saying I couldn’t reproduce the problem.
Today, he brought his own AEBS in from home and we tested it. Sure enough, we could reproduce the problem on his AEBS. So, we pondered the problem for a little while and realized that when I set up our lab’s AEBS the other day, the first thing I did was update the AEBS firmware as prompted when I first ran the Airport Utility tool. Comparing the two AEBSs showed that the one I set up was using firmware v7.1, whereas my colleague’s was using v7.0. A quick update of his AEBS and a new test, and the problem went away!
I then dug around on Apple’s web site and found the release notes for the new firmware update. Lo and behold, the new firmware says that it has “improved support for third party applications saving files to a USB disk.”
So, if you are having problems saving files from Office 2004 applications to your new whiz-bangy Aiport Express Base Station, go to your Airport Utility and check to see if you have the latest AEBS firmware. Your Office installation will thank you (or at least, save your files…)!

12 replies on “Save at the airport with Office 2004”

I have an Airport Extreme (FW 7.1) with an Airport Disk.
Conected through Ethernet cable is also an Airport Express (FW 6.3) – other end of house.
When connected to either of them, I get “Cannot save file: Too many open files” (even when only one open). So the FW upgrade alone does not do it.
The reason you cannot reproduce it might be that it only occurs when you try to access the Airport Disk from multiple computers (does not have to be simultaneously, though).
See and
The former suggests a very difficult workaround changing UIDs for your users.
See also recent discussion in

Just tried to upgrade the firmware to 7.1.1, which also claims to improve third party application saves.
Did not help either 🙁
I verified that the /Volumes/”server”/.TemporaryItems/folders.501/TemporaryItems exists (I am uid 501). And actually Word Work File D_x files are created for each save. But word still fails with the supid “Too many files open” error 🙁

Some problem with me: 5 Intel iMacs with the AE and a LaCie Disk attached. Have AE firmware 7.1.1 and Office 10.3.6

Any progress on this does anyone know? Clearly the firmware upgrade for the AEBS didnt work (it certainly didnt for me, running 7.1.1) and the only solution I have found to ever work has been the “always create backup copy” one (Word Preferences, Save, check box always create backup copies) although I understand this is only temporary measure.
there’s got to be something better than copying and pasting into a new document…

What kind of Airport base are you using? Some magic model? 🙂 The internet is full of people complaining and workarounds that don’t work. I advise readers to not use the UID workaround on your main user as you may loose access to it. I did on a test user and had to redo the permissions for it manually, as it was not acessible after I did the UID change.

I’m having the same problems. 5 intel Mac, 1 new AEBS, Airdisk, 500GB LaCie HD. Man, I’m going to catch hell at the office for this one. I just convinced the office to switch to Macs!

UID on a test user did not work for us. Everything is current. AEBS is 7.1.1 OS is 10.4.10, Office 2004 with latest updates. I like how he first tries ‘Office 2008’ and it works…. guess we’ll have to wait untill 2008 before we get our fix. What a drag.

The Backup Copy workaround is an evil conniving lie. Killed my document entirely in the end. didn’t leave a trace. not a sausage. not even a temp file. there was no option to recover it either. really bizarre. I really hate MS Word now. I wasnt much of a fan before but i tolerated it, much how we tolerate rubbish public transport for example. i’ll stop now before this becomes just one long boring complaint, or I start sobbing into my shreddies.
we really should all get together in a big mob and march down to Castle Microsoft with flaming torches and pitch-forks…

So let me get this straight – a lot of the time there is *no way to use MS Word in a straightforward way on a network like those described above? I just bought a setup pretty much identical to Tron’s – getting that nonsense message, which I’ll type out in full for any other googlers: Word cannot complete the operation because too many files are open.
It is the same deal, by the way, if just one laptop is connecting to the LaCie hard drive / airport. You get the same message. I find it hard to understand when saving files on to hard drive became such a technical nightmare!

And by the way, have installed the new firmware, and all Office and Mac OS updates are entirely up to date. Anyone got a solution?

@ Tron:
I really solidarize with you, I also convinced an Office to buy new AEBS. And now this! Has anyone tried the Office 10.3.7 Update?
Maybe we should all use Pages instead. Maybe that’s what Apple wants us to!

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