"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 this easy fix button to uninstall Office.

      Easy fix download button indicating an automated fix is available
    2. For the remaining steps showing how to save and use the easy fix, select your browser from the drop-down list below:

      1. At the bottom of the browser window, select Open to open the O15CTRRemove.diagcab file.

        Select Open to open the O15CTRRemove.diagcab easy fix tool

        If the file doesn’t open automatically, choose Save > Open Folder, and then double-click the file (it should start with "O15CTRRemove") to run the easy fix tool.

      2. The Uninstall Microsoft Office wizard launches. Select Next and follow the prompts.

      3. When you see the Uninstallation successful screen, follow the prompt to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Select Next.

      4. Restart your computer and then try installing Office again.

      Install Office

      Select the steps for the version you want to install.

      VERSION

      INSTALL STEPS

      Office 365

      Office 2019


      Download and install or reinstall Office on your PC

      Office 2016

      Office 2013


      Download and install or reinstall Office 2016 or Office 2013.

      1. In the lower-lower left corner select the o15CTRRemove file and from the drop down, select Show in folder.

        From the dropdown, select Show in folder

        Double-click the download, o15CTRRemove to run the easy fix tool.

      2. The Uninstall Microsoft Office wizard launches. Select Next and follow the prompts.

      3. When you see the Uninstallation successful screen, follow the prompt to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Select Next.

      4. Restart your computer and then try installing Office again.

      Install Office

      Select the steps for the version you want to install.

      VERSION

      INSTALL STEPS

      Office 365

      Office 2019


      Download and install or reinstall Office on your PC

      Office 2016

      Office 2013


      Download and install or reinstall Office 2016 or Office 2013.

      1. Select Save File, and then OK.

        Save O15CTRRemove.diagcab file in Firefox

        In the upper-right browser window, select Show all downloads. In the Library, select Downloads > O15CTRRemove.diagcab, and then select the folder icon. Double-click the O15CTRRemove.diagcab.

      2. The Uninstall Microsoft Office wizard launches. Select Next and follow the prompts.

      3. When you see the Uninstallation successful screen, follow the prompt to restart your computer for the changes to take effect. Select Next.

      4. Restart your computer and then try installing Office again.

      Install Office

      Select the steps for the version you want to install.

      VERSION

      INSTALL STEPS

      Office 365

      Office 2019


      Download and install or reinstall Office on your PC

      Office 2016

      Office 2013


      Download and install or reinstall Office 2016 or Office 2013.

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