"Unable to start Office" or ”Office is busy” error message

We’re sorry for the delay in getting an Office application open, but if you get an error message that says something like the messages below when trying to update, repair, or uninstall Office:

Office is busy. We're sorry, <application name> can't be used right now because Office is busy. We're either updating or helping you add or remove some programs.

or

Unable to start Office. We couldn't open Office because we're updating, adding, or removing programs.

What you can do

If you get one of these errors and you can't open Office, try the following in this order:

  1. Wait a few minutes and then try opening an Office app.

  2. Restart your computer and then try opening the app again.

  3. Use this easy fix tool to completely uninstall Office. After your uninstall is complete, reinstall Office.

    1. Click the button below to download and install the Office uninstall support tool.

      Easy fix download button indicating an automated fix is available
    2. Follow the steps below to download the uninstall support tool according to your browser.

      Tip: The tool may take a few minutes to download and install. After completing the installation, the Uninstall Office products window will open.

      Edge or Internet Explorer

      At the bottom of the browser window, select Run to launch the SetupProd_OffScrub.exe.

      Where to find and open the Support Assitant download file in the Edge or Internet Explorer web browser

      Chrome

      In the lower-lower left corner right-click SetupProd_OffScrub.exe > Open.

      Where to find and open the Support Assitant download file in a Chrome web browser

      Firefox

      In the pop-up window, select Save File.

      Next, from the upper-right of the FireFox browser window, select the downloads arrow and then select SetupProd_OffScrub.exe.

      Where to find and open the Support Assitant download file in a Chrome web browser
    3. Select the version you want to uninstall, and then select Next.

    4. Follow through the remaining screens and when prompted, restart your computer.

      After you restart your computer, the uninstall tool automatically re-opens to complete the final step of the uninstall process. Follow the remaining prompts.

    5. Select the steps for the version of Office you want to install or reinstall. Close the uninstall tool.

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