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Incompatible Office Products Are Installed on Your Machine

Recently, we’ve begun to receive numerous help desk requests with the following error message:

Sorry, we can’t perform this action. Incompatible Office products are installed on your machine. If you have an administrator, please contact them for help.

People that report this error are generally trying to open an Office document from OneDrive or SharePoint using any standard Office 2013 application like Word or Excel. You can open the documents using Office online or download a document to your local computer and open without error. Non-Office files like Adobe PDF files also open without error from SharePoint or OneDrive.

As usual, the web has lots of mis-information about incompatibilities from having a mixture of MSI and Click-to-Run installations of Microsoft applications or the advice to randomly start uninstalling little used programs like SharePoint Designer 2010.

This problem is caused by an update to OneDrive. If you previously had SkyDrive installed or installed the standalone OneDrive separate from your copy of Office:

  1. Right-click on the OneDrive icon in the system tray and select Stop synching files.
  2. Uninstall SkyDrive or standalone OneDrive from Control Panel and Programs and Features.
  3. Select View installed updates, scroll down the Office updates, and uninstall the latest update for OneDrive for Business.
  4. Delete any remaining folders for SkyDrive or OneDrive under your user profile such as This PC > Local Disk (C:) > Users > Yourname > SkyDrive.

You should now be able to open Office documents from both OneDrive and SharePoint. You must delete the folders in the last step or you will continue to have the error, even though you have uninstalled the errant application and update.

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  1. Absolutely brilliant. My user had SkyDrive for Business installed, even though it should have already updated to OneDrive. Completely uninstalled this, and deleted all the left over files and it all worked.

  2. Despite how popular this exact answer is all over the internet, it is possible to have this problem and not have any prior version of SkyDrive or OneDrive installed. There must be other incompatible applications that will cause the same problem but I haven’t been able to track down what is doing it for me.

    • Todd – It looks like the latest OneDrive for Business update apparently had a flaw too and must be uninstalled. Hopefully, the May update will have no issues.

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