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  1. #1
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    MS Word not responding; forces reboot

    Hello,

    I have a rather tricky problem that I'm hoping somebody has seen before. MS word has recently started hanging when I try to save a document displaying a "MS Word is not Responding". I can't close the program, even with the Task Manager and have to force a power down. I've trawled around the net and can see that many people have had this problem, on all versions of Office and different operating systems. What I can't find is a permanent fix. I'm suspicious that the problem has been caused by a Windows Update but I can't tell which one and there are hundreds.

    I have narrowed it down by using the MS Word Support template which allow easy delete of key registry entries and renaming the Normal.dot template. I think it's got something to do with the Normal.dot template. If I delete the Normal.dot file, start Word, create or update a document, save is fine. Close doc is also OK. Reopen doc, update and save is OK. But, if I close Word altogether and repeat the process, it hangs on the save. I understand that the Normal.dot is recreated if Word doesn't find it on startup. Word must save the new version on Shutdown and it's something to do with the existence of this template on startup is causing the problem.

    I've uninstalled the whole Office package and reinstalled from scratch. My system is an ASUS X550C i3 8GB with a fully updated Window 8.1 Update OS. I'm running Office XP with SP3 which has been working fine until recently. Once the freeze event is triggered, it seems to spread to other open apps which is odd. I wonder if it's also got something to do with the way Windows 8 runs 32bit applications? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Keep Task Manager running; click on the Processes tab, and sort on CPU, with the highest number at the top. Whenever the "hang" occurs, click over to Task Manager to see what is consuming the most CPU cycles. If something is consuming a lot, then that may be the culprit. Also sort by Memory, with the highest number at the top, to see the same thing.

    Doing this may reveal what is actually causing the problem. I suspect it is not MS Word.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the suggestion. I stopped all other programs and started the Task Manager. I triggered the hang and switched to Task Manager. Nothing conclusive I'm afraid. Total CPU running at about 2% with the top process bouncing around between the Task Manager itself, the Firewall and Antivirus plus a few other Windows processes. Memory usage around 20% with the same processes. It may be some sort of locking/deadly embrace type of problem I guess but I can't see where.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Unplug / disconnect from the internet, and try it again. Perhaps there is something on your computer which is phoning home and causing the problem; and if you cut the connection, it may not be able to hang your computer at that moment.

    This is just a stab in the dark, but you never know. There is a lot of communication which goes on these days, and so you might get lucky and find the problem this way.

  5. #5
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    Have you tried repairing the document? Corrupt documents can often be 'repaired' by inserting a new, empty, paragraph at the very end, copying everything except that new paragraph to a new document based on the same template (headers & footers may need to be copied separately), closing the old document and saving the new document over the old one.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  6. #6
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    Hi mrjimphelps, thanks for that. Tried it without network connection but problem persists. I've no problem with stabs in the dark. As you say, it's unlikely to solve the problem as such but may provide some new info that may help.

    Cheers,

    Mike

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    Hi macropod, thanks for the suggestion. I can recreate the problem easily now as I know the conditions that cause it, but I don't think it relates to a specific document. I've tested with a variety of documents, including newly created ones and pre-existing files. I've also tested from various drives, USB or hard drives as there's some posts on the net relating to networked drives being involved. I can still consistently trigger the problem as described in my original post regardless of the location or origin of the document. I will do some more work to see if the behavior changes depending on the document properties.

    Cheers,

    Mike

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    I have had similar problems in the past, but always only with existing doc files, never with files newly created with the same installation of Word. I can just offer a few suggestions that might help narrow it down...

    • Allow a looong time before you declare it hung. I have had issues where Word spends at least 5 minutes waiting for a network drive before giving up. The first few times I was impatient and killed it because I had assumed it was permanently hung.
    • Check your default printer. Create a new doc, and print to somewhere that works before saving the file and exiting and restarting Word.
    • check in options like workgroup folders or template folders that they don't point to nonexistent network drives. I can't remember where these options are in Word-XP. From memory, the normal template was stored under the installation folder in Program Files. Maybe this is now blocked as unsafe and you can't write to it. Try specifying somewhere else.
    • You could try creating a new template, save it locally, and create a new doc based on that template.



    MS-Office has been reported from time to time as utilising undocumented interfaces to the OS, presumably to speed up operations. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that in recent updates MS may have decided that this feature had a vulnerability and they closed it, or made it work very differently. After all, I am sure Office XP is not "supported" under Win 8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron View Post
    I am sure Office XP is not "supported" under Win 8.
    Not compatible, anyway. Besides which, Office XP was not one of Microsoft's better efforts - many regarded its predecessor, Office 2000, superior and Office 2003 was a far more polished product.
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  10. #10
    jwoods
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    You also may want to try the free OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

  11. #11
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    How about we just stick to resolving the problem at hand, without installing additional software with its own compatibility issues vis-a-vis Office files...
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  12. #12
    jwoods
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    Quote Originally Posted by macropod View Post
    How about we just stick to resolving the problem at hand, without installing additional software with its own compatibility issues vis-a-vis Office files...
    Given that Office XP is not supported in Windows 8 per this MS article, resolving the problem at hand could include upgrading, or moving away from Office.

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/office_re...indows-rt.aspx

    No one has mentioned checking the Windows Event logs to see if there are any errors related to Word...

    Use Windows key + X to open Quick Links and select Event Viewer

    Expand the Custom Views folder and click on Administrative Events.

    The Administrative Events contain Warnings, Errors, and Critical events from all event logs.
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-11-19 at 01:34.

  13. #13
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    Not being supported/compatible is not the same as not working...
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikefa View Post
    I can recreate the problem easily now as I know the conditions that cause it, but I don't think it relates to a specific document. I've tested with a variety of documents, including newly created ones and pre-existing files.
    In that case it might be a faulty Office installation. Have you tried repairing it (e.g. via Help|Detect & Repair)?
    Cheers,

    Paul Edstein
    [MS MVP - Word]

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by macropod View Post
    Not being supported/compatible is not the same as not working...
    That was the point of my quote marks.
    My understanding of "supported" is that MS will take efforts to make sure a product continues to work in that OS.

    Something not supported means that it might work, or not, or only under certain conditions. It also means that if MS decide to make a change then they will not care too much if it breaks an unsupported product.

    Mikefa, have you tried running Word in XP compatibility mode?

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