How to break Endnote X5, Visual Basic and Microsoft Word

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.

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

11 thoughts on “How to break Endnote X5, Visual Basic and Microsoft Word”

  1. Microsoft has a legacy (heh, software pun) of restricting certain characters in path names, and has done so since the days of DOS. Backwards? Yes. Unexpected? Sadly, no.

  2. Hi!
    Thanks very much for your posts on Word 2011. I’m at the research proposal stage of a (UK) MSc dissertation – 5k words plus 15k for the dissertation, and have been googling to see if I should use Word 2011 (already paid for – and a huge improvement on previous windows versions), or try / buy Scrivener.

    You’ve persuaded me! Best of luck with the rest of your studies.


  3. Omg. You cannot BELIEVE the crap I had to plough through to try and figure out why my Endnote won’t work. Thanks so much!!

  4. Jesus Christ, you just fixed my problem, after spending hours on the phone with customer support people who couldn’t. This is F***ing ridiculous. You’re brilliant!!

  5. Holy @#$%&! That worked miraculously for me. Man, I’ve been trying every sort of things to make that bloody endnote work, and nothing worked.

    Thank you very much for this excellent piece of advice. Saved my life there….

  6. To all the people out there who are happy that my post helped you with your problem, and who have come here to thank me and curse,

    You’re fucking welcome. :P

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