Word (Windows) plugin runtime error 453

edited January 31, 2018
At least four computers in our library that I know of are having this problem:

Clicking any button on the Word toolbar gives the error "Runtime error 453: Can't find DLL entry point FindWindowA in user32."

This has happened on my office PC, two colleagues' computers and the classroom instructor station I used yesterday in front of a class. We're using Windows 10, Word 2016, and I've got the latest Zotero (5.0.34).

I've reinstalled the Word plugin and Zotero itself. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • Could you check the exact Word version? Generally, this does sounds like a problem with the Word installation (FindWindowA is a standard library in Word, I believe, nothing specific to Zotero) -- since presumably that's centrally installed, it's not entirely surprising it'd be on multiple machines.
  • Word 16.0.4639.1000 64 bit.

    If you can give me any solution info to pass on to our IT office, I'd love to do so. Thanks!
  • Update: I think a piece of security software on our library computers is preventing the toolbar from running. I've alerted our IT staff and I'll update this thread if/when it looks like it's been fixed, but it appears to be a problem with our local setup.
  • Hello,

    I am getting the same error message as Jason.

    Windows 10
    Word 2016 (16.0.4639.1000 32-bit)
    Zotero 5.0.35.1

    I uninstalled Zotero, deleted Zotero.dotm, reinstalled Zotero, confirmed that the Microsoft Word Add-in was successfully installed, and restarted my machine. I am able to add and organize references in my Zotero library and I am not having any issues synching with zotero.org. The Zotero tab is present in my Word ribbon, but I get the "Run-time error '453'" message when I try clicking any of the 5 options on the Zotero tab (Add/Edit Citation, Add/Edit Bibliography, Document Preferences, Refresh, and Unlink Citations). I'd be very grateful if you could let me know of any workarounds. Our IT team hasn't been able to identify the problem - but Zotero isn't an officially supported application, so I'm a little bit on my own in terms of trouble-shooting.

    Best,
    Kate
  • I know that in Jason's case this was caused by Cylance security software. Not sure if they have a fix there, though.
  • Thanks! I see that I have something called CylancePROTECT on my machine.

    I should also have mentioned in my original post that this is a new machine. IT replaced all of our Windows 7 machines (where everything was working just fine) with new Windows 10 machines.
  • edited February 13, 2018
    Yeah, that's definitely the cause then. I'm afraid I don't have a solution and I think Jason would have mentioned if they had found one there (but depending on where you are, you might have a nimbler IT department than a large research library ;).
  • Thanks so much for the feedback, Adam. I reached out to Jason to see if he has an update. I'll circle back if anything changes on my end, too. Thank you!
  • Kate -- sorry for the slow response! I got hit with the flu. It sounds like you're in the same boat. Our library's IT staff had to reach out to campus IT (which manages Cylance).

    At the moment, they've unblocked it so it's working on new documents, but previously existing documents are still having the error. They're still troubleshooting.
  • Any updates on this, we are having the same problem at my university. Cylance stops all scripts running in MS Word.
  • @mdt_: You'll need to talk to your IT department. If security software is blocking Zotero's code from running, there's nothing we can do about that.
  • @dstillman We have and we are. Sorry I did not mean to imply that this was a Zotero bug. My question was more along the lines of "Has anyone out there found a way to make Cylance work correctly with Zotero."
  • @mdt_ , we don't have a solution over here. Our IT department added Zotero to the Cylance whitelist and so for a few days everything was good. But I guess ultimately they decided they couldn't or wouldn't keep Zotero on the list so I'm out of luck.
  • @cwetmore Interesting. In discussions here with the campus computer security people they are blaming Zotero, the organization, for not providing some type of digital signature. Our people claim that without this they cannot set Cylance to approve Zotero. I am not sure who to believe about where the problem lies.
  • Turns out my request to permanently add Zotero to our whitelist was approved but hadn't been implemented... until I picked up the phone just now in response to this thread. Everything appears to be working well. This includes new documents as well as old documents. Hopefully it's an easy fix on your end as well.
  • @cwetmore Just to be clear, you **were** able to set Zotero to a whitelist in Cylance Protect? Our IT says that is not able to be done due to either a problem with Zotero (lack of a digital signature) or a limitation in Cylance Protect. If you can confirm that you have done this, it would help me to make the case to people here to try again. Sorry to bother you with this, but you are my only lead on a solution just now.
  • @mdt_ Yes! We definitely have Cylance and I'm currently successfully using Zotero - so it is a solvable problem. I don't know how they did it.
  • @cwetmore Thanks! Just knowing that helps!
  • The first time I called and explained my problem to my IT team, I asked if Cylance could be the problem. They agreed to add Zotero to the whitelist for a very brief testing period. This took them almost no time at all... but I don't know how they did it. But then... it stopped working again and I started using my personal computer for writing. I am probably the only Zotero user in my organization - so I think my request was very low priority and possibly just slipped through the cracks. In the time it took me to send my first message to you today they have already added Zotero to the whitelist (again) and it's working.
  • @mdt_: Zotero.dotm is signed on Windows.
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