Steps to Troubleshooting Word
The first thing you should do is learn about your normal.dot file in Word.
This makes Word ever so much easier to understand and helps you to resolve
problems so much more quickly. Please read
About Normal.dot in Microsoft
Word. It'll only take a couple minutes. Then come back here to take the
Some people may tell you to do a system restore. Though it may very well
work, I feel that it's a pretty drastic measure to take to fix Word. That
doesn't mean it's not necessary, but you won't likely hear it from someone who
knows Word. We have no idea how much or how often you use your computer, or
what you've done recently that we'd be undoing by advising a system restore.
Many will tell you to start Word using StartàRun
and type: winword.exe /a or to start Word in "safe mode". That really only
lets you know that Word will run once the problem is taken care of. Use the
steps below to get right to the source of the problem. More about Word Command-Line switches, which you might find interesting,
can be found here.
If Word opens files fine, but you can't launch Word with the icon, the
shortcut could be bad. Just find winword.exe and create a new shortcut.
Windows 2000 Update
Apparently, there's a known issue about the Windows 2000 Update (when
combined, I believe, with Word 2003) that makes
Word crash when saving to a
floppy drive (which you shouldn't do anyway,
article). The only fix I'm aware of at this time is to uninstall the
If you are running Norton AntiVirus, then you may first want to check the
Microsoft TechNet support article at
If you are running Adobe Acrobat, you may first want to check the Microsoft
TechNet support article at
Printer Must Be Installed
Believe it or not, you must have a printer installed for Word to perform
properly, even if it's only Acrobat's
PDF to Word writer. Word just doesn't know how
to act without a printer driver. (Thanks to Barb for asking me a question at AllExperts.com, which reminded me to add this to my article!)
Step 1. Check Word's Startup folder.
The Word startup folder can generally be found under:
and Settings\Your Name\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup
Check it for the existence of files that perhaps don't belong there or
conflict with Word. You could temporarily place them elsewhere and re-launch
Word to see if it helps.
Step 2. Rename or delete your normal.dot file.
If Word runs for you at all, first close it. If you've really been having
troubles, you may want to hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete and ensure that winword doesn't
appear in your Applications list or in your Processes list. If it does, End task
Windows Start button, choose Search, then choose For Files or
Folders. Type the following into the All or Part of the File Name box:
Tip: You must be searching for hidden files and folders,
so make sure your other search options are looking there. You must also ensure
that you are viewing hidden and system files by going to My Computer, then hit
ToolsàFolder Options, and ticking the appropriate
choices, as shown below. If you aren't viewing them, you may also want to untick
hiding of extensions for known file types, too.
If you cannot find your normal.dot file during a search, rest
assured that if you've ever successfully launched Word, you do have one. If
you're in a network environment, it may not reside on your hard drive. If you
are able to open Word at all, go to ToolsàOptions,
File locations tab, and double-click User templates. This is the location of
your normal.dot file.
If you have customized your Word application to any degree,
rename the normal.dot file when you find it. Right-click the file's name, and
choose Rename. Call it abnormal.dot. If you have not customized Word, just
delete your normal.dot file. If you find more than one normal.dot file, rename
or delete all of them.
Now you can try launching Word again. Word should create a brand
new normal.dot for you, and you're all set. Most people will not need to venture
beyond this point.
Step 3. Run Detect and
Repair from the Help menu.
Some people might have
you do this step first. Not me. This is not usually as helpful as Step 1, but
you should try it, at least if you're able to open Word. If you are, just go to
the Help menu dropdown and choose Detect and Repair.
Someone named snizborski reported to us on the newsgroups that he placed his
installation CD in the CD Rom drive and ran Detect and Repair, and this did not
help. He called Microsoft and learned that he shouldn't put the CD in until
prompted, and this enabled the Detect and Repair to find the "bad" file that
caused his problem.
Step 4. Dump the Windows
Word registry key.
There are many people who would rather that I didn't tell you
how to do this. But any adult that's paying any attention can follow my steps.
What we're doing is removing Word from the Windows registry. When you launch
Word again, it will re-register itself, so you can expect it to take a little
longer to launch than usual.
Hit StartàRun and type regedit and
hit enter. Browse, just like you would in Windows Explorer or My Computer, to
the following folder:
X.X will be as follows, depending on your version of Word:
Word 2000 is 9.0
Word 2002/XP is 10.0
Word 2003 is 11.0
Once you find it, right click the Word folder, and choose
Rename. Rename it to OldWord. This is a quickie method of backing up your
registry. Close the Registry Editor.
Step 5. Uninstall and
If the above steps don't fix Word, you'll need to completely uninstall
and reinstall it. Office 97 uses
Eraser97 to completely remove Office. Office 2000 uses
Eraser2K to completely remove Office. Or you can remove it
OfficeArtilces.com debuted on May 26, 2005.
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