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System outline: Server 2008 SP2 x86 running terminal services in a Windows domain.

I've recently moved my working environment to a new server. I'm coding in Visual Fox Pro 9 on the system described above. I used to work on a Windows 2003 terminal server. Since I have moved to the 2008 server I've been experiencing an issue that has totally stumped me. For some of the programs I'm writing I load up an instance of Excel 2007 via COM. The issue is that randomly I will experience the excel instance failing to initialize with this error message "OLE error code 0x800704ec: This program is blocked by group policy. For more information, contact your system administrator.". The Problem occurs randomly. There seems to be some sort of time factor because if I wait for a bit the problem will cease and my program will work as intended again. I've also had some luck with executing gpupdate but its not a guarantee that it alleviates the error. I do find it strange that I can always run Excel via the windows shell without error as well.

Steps I've taken thus far are:

  • Examine all group policy items applied to the domain for software restrictions that may be applied. There are none that should affect me.
  • Implement a GPO to set software restrictions for my user to unrestricted.
  • Verify the software restrictions are what is expected in HKLM and HKCU
  • Enabled software restrictions logging. No blocks have been recorded.
  • Run the Visual Fox Pro IDE as administrator
  • Add exceptions for all relevant paths to the software restrictions GPO that affects my user.

Still after all that I've found no relief. The only sure fire way I've found is to log off then back onto the server. So far that has always fixed the issue until it reoccurs. I've been treating the issue as a Software Restrictions issue thus far but I'm stumped at this point.

Finally, I'll include a screenshot of the error for reference. OLE error code 0x800704ec

Update:

I've found some interesting information. I finally got a hit in the SRP logging that showed Excel being blocked. I looked up the blocking rule via GUID in the HKCU hive. This is where I got stumped again. The blocking rule is an allow rule! Here are screenshots of my research.

The SRP log that shows Excel being blocked and also allowed. SRP log showing excel blocked

The HKCU registry values for the blocking rule enter image description here

The SRP rule details contained in group policy enter image description here

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We had this issue recently with a medical provider we manage. Their patient management software has a feature to perform a 'Mail Merge' with Word. About two weeks after a storage failure that required us to restore a backup of the software's database, we got a call from them reporting that they get this error whenever they "merge with Word":

image http://i66.tinypic.com/2ujgpzl.png

There was also a DCOM Event 10000 generated with the first error per day (the server reboots every night)...

Unable to start a DCOM Server: {000209FF-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}. The error:
"1260"
Happened while starting this command:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14\WINWORD.EXE" /Automation -Embedding

They have no software restrictions in place in group policy. It's not group policy. After trying everything up to and including a complete uninstall/reinstall of both Office 2010 and the third-party software, I finally found the solution, for me at least...

  1. Open Component Services (32-bit), Run: mmc comexp.msc /32
  2. Open Component Services > Computers > My Computer > DCOM Config.
  3. Right-click Microsoft Word 97 - 2003 Document and select Properties.
  4. Select the Security tab, then Edit... under Configuration Permissions.
  5. Add NETWORK SERVICE with Full Control. Click OK.
  6. Under the Identity tab, select The Interactive User. Apply. OK.

This cleared the error and allowed the third-party software to successfully send data to Word.

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