As many of you know, my old computer Fermat recently died. After a respectful period of mourning, I got a new one. Its name is “Gödel.” (I name my computers after mathematicians, in alphabetical order, starting at E. My first computer was named “Euler,” my second was “Fermat,” and so this one had to be “Gödel.”)
This week, when I opened up Microsoft Word to work on an assignment, I noticed something funny—the Endnote toolbar was missing. Endnote is the reference manager software that I use on pretty much all my school assignments.
I had this problem before, when I first installed Word on Fermat. The problem was that I installed Word after I installed Endnote. I thought it was the same problem, so I reinstalled Endnote. This didn’t help.
So I tried Googling the problem. I tried using the Endnote “customizer,” but that didn’t work. I tried repairing the disc permissions. Eventually, I called Thomson-Reuters technical support who had me go through all the steps I already found on the internet, and eventually told me that I had to re-install Word.
So, I did a full uninstall of Word and a complete reinstall, which was more difficult than expected, because my computer no longer has an optical drive.
I reinstalled Word and Endnote, but to no avail. My reference manager was still unavailable.
I called Microsoft technical support, who had me do all sorts of things—making new users on my computer, shift-restarting, repairing disc permissions again. This was also fruitless, except that they were able to identify that it was a problem with Visual Basic, which is necessary for Endnote-Word integration apparently.
They told me that my installation of Word was corrupted somehow, since Visual Basic was not able to access the folder for Visual Basic macros. They thought it might have something to do with my anti-virus software, and told me to reinstall with my anti-virus turned off.
I did this, but it didn’t help at all.
So I tried thinking about what was different between Gödel and Fermat: Fermat was running Mac OS X 10.6, and Gödel was running 10.7, but that was the only thing I could think of, until I realised that I had named my hard disc “Gödel”—including the two little dots over the O. I renamed the hard disc to “Godel,” and started Word.
Endnote worked immediately.
So the moral of the story is, if you want to break Visual Basic in your installation of Microsoft Word, just put a non-standard character in your hard disc’s name.