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  1. #1
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    Word 2003 has trouble starting and shutting down

    I have Word 2003 with SP1, SP2 and SP3 installed.

    For the past 6 months or so I have had problems with both starting and closing Word documents.

    When opening a Word document, I get a window with the message -
    "The command cannot be performed because a dialog box is open. Click OK, and then close the dialog boxes to continue."
    The only button in the window is "OK".

    When I click on OK, I then get the following message
    "Word automatically saved changes to the Normal document template. Do you want to load it?"
    There is a "Yes" and "No" button on the window.
    I always click on No. Once I do, then Word starts.

    When I close a Word document, I get a window with the message -
    " Microsoft Office Word has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem"
    The only button on this window is "Cancel". When I click Cancel, I then get
    " Microsoft Office Word is trying to recover your information... This might take several minutes"
    The only button on this window is "Cancel". If I don't click on Cancel here, Word restarts and brings up the last document with a side bar asking which document I want to keep. There can be 1, 2, 3 or more documents in the side bar.

    So here is what I have done.

    1) Did a full system virus scan (Kaspersky). It found several items but none seemed to be something that would affect Word. I disinfected all of the items.
    2) Went into Control Panel / Programs and Files / and selected Microsoft Office 2003. I then clicked on "Repair". It ran several minutes but finally finished with only a "repair complete" message of some sort (I didn't save it so I don't recall the exact wording).
    3) After the repair, the problems with opening Word documents went away for awhile, but returned after a day or so.
    4) I uninstalled Office 2003 and reinstalled it completely. I then applied SP1, SP2 and SP3. I also applied the Office 2007 compatibility facility (R4) so I could open Office 2007 and later Word documents. All installations completed without error.
    5) I now no longer get the problems with opening Word documents but I still get the "Word has stopped working ..." message followed by the " ..trying to recover .." message on document closure.

    At first I suspected a virus, but I now don't think that's it. Kaspersky does scan every document when I open it and again when I close it. I know this because a short message to that affect appears at the very bottom of Word's window (word's notification area?). There isn't any such message on the closing scan. I think I assumed that was why it was taking so long. I have searched Kaspersky's parameters to see if I could turn these open and close scans off but was unable to find any. I can understand the scan on open, but the scan on closing doesn't make any sense to me and seems a waste of time. Both virus scans of a Word document, the opening and the closing, take 30 to 45 seconds each, so its a laborious wait I would prefer not to sit through. The closing scan especially seems ludicrous. Furthermore, this open and close scan started occurring about a year ago, probably an update from Kaspersky I got automatically. But though they added to the time I had to wait, no error messages (i.e. the ones this post is about) ever occurred until about 6 months ago.

    Since the uninstall and reinstall of Office 2003 has not corrected the problem, or at least has not corrected the closing problem, I am now suspecting that its something more global, like Windows itself or some feature in Windows. I suppose it could be some other application, but I don't really know what that might be. I have looked through the Startup tab in MSCONFIG and have turned off the load on startup of nonessentials.

    Any clues or help you can offer me on what is going on here?

    Specs
    Windows 7-Pro, 64-bit - SP1
    Microsoft Office 2003, SP3

  2. #2
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    It is likely to be an addin that you have loaded in Word itself.

    Try starting Word in Safe Mode. If that allows you to open and close documents without the usual problems then we can move forward in isolating the problem. To open in Safe Mode, hold down the Ctrl key while opening Word.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply.

    I did as you suggested, i.e. opened a Word document in safe mode by holding down the CTRL key when I opened it.

    This did nothing to solve the problem. Even in safe mode I am still getting the problem on document closure.

    As I stated in the original post, the uninstall and reinstall of word appears to have corrected the document open problem.

    Also one more detail - If I have a document open then close just the document but leave Word open (i.e. using the inner X on the document window) then it doesn't get the closure error. But when I then close Word I get the closure problem I described earlier.

    Thanks so much for your post and I appreciate any further assistance you are able to offer.

  4. #4
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    I still think this must be a problem with an addin. It sounds like a flawed macro is being run as you exit Word and this is what is causing the exit error. The fact that it is not occurring as you close a document tells us the problem is not in the attached template.

    Can you have a look at Tools > Template and Addins to see if there are any global templates loaded there? If so, turn them off and then quit Word to see if you still see the error.

    What happens if you close Word and then rename the Normal.dot template to something else (such as Normal.dot.old)? Does Word still error when closing?

    Try this to see if there are com addins
    http://word.mvps.org/faqs/customizat...sInstalled.htm
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

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    dglarson (2014-09-05)

  6. #5
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    Word 2003 has trouble starting and shutting down - Solution

    Andrew

    I followed your suggestions. After reading the article at the link you provided I first started looking for Add-Ins. Both the Global Add-Ins and the COM Add-Ins turned up nothing.

    Then I renamed Normal.dot. That fixed it !!!!!

    So am I correct in assuming that the Norma.dot contained either an Add-In or a virus or a Spy? So after looking at it my Normal.dot was over 2 Mb in size. Once I renamed it and started Word, it of course created a new Normal.dot but it was only 35K in size. But the biggest news is that both the open and close problems are gone. Not only that but the slow open due to Kaspersky doing a virus scan, is also gone, or at least it goes so quickly that I don't even notice it.

    So I then edited my new Normal.dot and made a few minor changes, (changed default font, etc.) that I am accustomed to and saved it. Its still only 40K.

    Problem solved, Hooray !!!!

    I am a bit curious as to what was in my old normal.dot that
    1) made it over 2 Mb in size,
    2) was causing the closure problem.

    If it was a virus or a spy, is there a way to determine that conclusively? Is there a way to identify who updated Normal.dot?
    If you have some thoughts on these last points, I would love to hear them, but otherwise, I consider this case closed.

    I thank you. You have my eternal gratitude.

  7. #6
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    I don't know the history of your Normal.dot so I can't guess what the actual reason for its growth is. Over time if you don't pay attention, Normal.dot becomes a repository for large items you might have saved such as autotext entries and maybe some default document content such as a logo in the headers/footers.

    The fact it appears to have been causing your close errors points towards it containing macros of some sort. Sometimes those are self-inflicted but can also be put there by poorly written 'legal' software such as Adobe Acrobat in days gone by.

    I could have a look at the template to work out what is driving the file size. It doesn't matter much if you are not missing anything that it did contain so is probably only a waste of time. However since you obviously wrestled with this problem over an extended period I can have a look if you need closure. You won't be able to post it here directly due to its size but you could load it to dropbox or some other online storage space if you wanted someone to dig into the issue.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  8. #7
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    Well, if you are open to digging into a bit, then yes I would appreciate that.

    I can put the normal.dot on Dropbox, but I will need your email address so Dropbox can invite or grant you access to my account. You could post a private message to me here on Windows Secrets with your email address. Or if you know of another way let me know.

    Douglas Larson

  9. #8
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    OK, I've sent you a PM
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  10. #9
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    Douglas

    There is a corruption in the template (I got the same crashes) and the file size appears to be coming from a custom toolbar of some sort although I don't know whether it is displayable in any way. When I saved the file as a dotx it created a toolbar bin object which was 2.4Mb unzipped. That content is likely to have been added by one of your addins we will probably never know unless you manage to corrupt your new Normal.dot in the same way.

    It looks like the rest of the template was pretty much devoid of content so I don't think you will miss anything by starting again with a new Normal.dot.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  11. #10
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    Andrew

    Thanks for looking into it. I don't know how it became corrupted though I suspect it was some sort of Add-In that I was given without my awareness. On occasion I get a message saying Normal.dot has been changed and do I want to save it or load it. I always say no to these, but its possible I inadvertently said yes once which let an Add-in be installed. If my conjecture is true, then just where this Add-in came from is a mystery though it was probably from some internet site I visited or perhaps I even downloaded something not realizing it would affect MS Word documents.

    So thanks very much for your efforts and time. I can't describe how much I like not having to wait 1 to 2 minutes to open and close Word documents. It now happens in less than 2 seconds.

    I wish you well in all you do.


    Douglas Larson,
    Bothell, Washington
    USA

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