That's apparently what happened to me.
Simple, comprehensive solutions that make the problem worse
Since it was an update that the OS identifies separately enough that it can be uninstalled later rather than mushing it all into the same code base, the problems should have been fixable by reinstalling a newer version of the framework or uninstalling an update.
Microsoft's advice was all over the place, however, making it hard to identify the problem, find the scripts that should have automated the fixes and, when I did find and run the right FixIt modules, they often refused to believe they were running on the right version of the operating system, or just launched, made their changes, expressed satisfaction at the result, then crashed, leaving me with more of a mess than I started with.
At various times, and through varying eras of advice on how to fix the problems, I reinstalled Office, reinstalled the Windows Installer, reinstalled .NET 4, systematically and singly, with reboots between each, uninstalled and cleaned the registry of .NET 4, 3.5, 3.0, 1.1 and 1.
I also ran chkdsk, sft scannow, replaced the registry Microsoft's troubleshooters said was corrupted by the last clean install of Office with the backup of a directory from before the problem started (which should have fixed everything, but had no effect) uninstalled and reinstalled half a dozen other services, every add-in for any Windows app whether I was using it or not, all the security software, did a repair re-install of Windows itself, reinstalled all the other apps, Windows modules, coffee machines, electric griddles and every other damn thing the laptop had ever run or come in contact with.
I used backups I real-time sync'd onto another partition, onto an external drive and backed up using Acronis backup software with a feature that would launch after the BIOS and before the OS, so you could recover your operating system before it launched with its errors intact to annoy me again.
By late last night, my laptop was a brick.
Acronis mostly did what it was supposed to, but helped brick my laptop by keeping me from booting from the Windows 7 disk, scrubbing the partition and starting over. I had to use a Linux Mint distro I keep on a USB drive to help fix other people's machines without having to learn all the junk that's on them – like opening a bathroom stall by sliding under the door and unlocking it from the inside, rather than trying to pick the lock.
Eventually I did a system restore and a Registry restore separately to get the thing working to the same dysfunctional level it had been before my marathon effort at repairs.