Another two strange cases of MZ-Tools 8.0 for VBA could not be loaded

It seems that the path to load a .NET-based add-in in the VBA editor of Office is full of mines. In the last couple of days I have discovered two new scenarios (apart from this and this) that can cause “<Add-In> could not be loaded”. I will document them here for future reference for me or other people:

This first one happens if you are not using a COM Shim, you are using .NET Framework 2.0 and the version of Office is 2000, 2002 (XP) or 2003. It is due to a lockback policy that “prevents the .NET Framework 2.0 common language runtime (CLR) from initializing when the .NET Framework 2.0 is hosted in either the Word process space or the Excel process space. The policy restriction limits Word and Excel from loading versions of the .NET Framework that are later than version 1.1. Therefore, the .NET Framework 2.0 assemblies cannot load”. It is documented in the Knowledge Base article You cannot load a .NET Framework 2.0 assembly from Visual Basic for Applications in Word 2003 and earlier versions, or in Excel 2003 and earlier versions and fortunately has a solution through a registry key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Interface\ {000C0601-0000-0000-C000-000000000046} that can be created. I was aware of this problem since long time ago and my setup created that registry key if Office 2003 or 2002 was detected. However, I noticed that my add-in was failing for Office 2000 (yes, I have users running Office 2000 on old PCs) because I added support for Office 2000 later and I didn’t update the setup to check that version. This case is difficult to diagnose because the following script works perfectly (I mean, the problem only manifests loading the assembly in Office):

Dim o
Set o = CreateObject("MZTools8VBA")

The other problem was also hard to diagnose. It happened when using a COM Shim to load the CLR using code from the COM Shim wizards provided by Microsoft, which calls the CorBindToRuntimeEx function passing NULL to the first pwszVersion parameter. A NULL value means to load the highest CLR installed below CLR 4.0, which should be CLR 2.0. However, on Windows XP I got HRESULT 0x80131700. Fortunately I found on a comments of the post COM Shim CLR Loader Bug that the problem could be solved passing the specific version “v2.0.50727”, which certainly fixed the problem for me.