Yesterday I finally diagnosed a problem that a friend’s laptop has had for a while: whenever she tried to install Office 2003 Service Pack 1, it would throw up an error about not finding a file called SKU111.CAB.

A week ago I’d confidently tried to fix this by downloading the “fullfile” version of Office 2003 SP1 onto the laptop. The fullfile version contains everything needed for an update, as compared to the much smaller normal version which requires you to find your original installation CDROM (but is faster to download from Office Update). So I was pretty annoyed when it threw up exactly the same error: couldn’t find SKU111.CAB.

My next step was to try repairing the original installation first, from Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs. This asked for the original installation CDROM, span it up and down a few times… and then complained about not being able to find SKU111.CAB. Ok, this was getting personal.

Which brings us to this weekend, and a lot of Google hits for other people with the same problem. Thankfully, Eric Longman’s post “Can’t find SKU111.CAB” pointed to the solution:

You've got the wrong install CD.

Voila! Turns out that my friend actually had three different installation CDs for Office 2003 (it’s a long story…). One session of CD-swapping later and the laptop was happily installing SP1.

Thanks Eric!