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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    Open suspicious file in Notepad?

    A friend received a .doc file that she is suspicious of, but wants to check the contents. I've uploaded it to virustotal and it came back clean, but I am still not trusting it because it is .doc which I've read is not as safe as .docx, so is a common way to infect spam messages.

    Would you agree it would be safe to open the file in Notepad? I guess I could also boot to a linux cd and open it there, but I think Notepad should be safe. What do you say?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    I suggest using LibreOffice to open the file in Writer. This will open .DOC (and .DOCX) files without allowing any embedded code (macros).

    (Having said that, unless your friend has changed MS Office's default setings, .DOC/.DOCX files from external sources should not allow any embedded code [macros] anyway, due to the default settings of Office's 'Trust Center'.)

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-10-09 at 17:54.

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    WS Lounge VIP Calimanco's Avatar
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    Upload it here for analysis. It will check for embedded malware.

    https://vicheck.ca/

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    DOCX is not safer than DOC. Any file from an external source should be treated with suspicion.

    cheers, Paul

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    DOCX is not safer than DOC.
    Even though DOCX cannot contain embedded code whereas DOC can?

  8. #6
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    DOCX is not safer than DOC.
    DOCX is smaller than DOC. That's the only difference I'm aware of.

  9. #7
    WS Lounge VIP Coochin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vincenzo View Post
    ...Would you agree it would be safe to open the file in Notepad? I guess I could also boot to a linux cd and open it there, but I think Notepad should be safe. What do you say?...
    Yes, it is safe to open such .doc or .docx files in Notepad. Notepad is a simple text-editor that does not have any capability to execute any code apart from what is necessary to display the actual text content of the file; but if you open such .doc or .docx files in M$ Word you risk running code that might have unwanted results.

    But if you open such a .doc or .docx file w/ Notepad expect to see a significant number of sections of code that you probably won't understand apart from the actual text contained in the document.

    You could always copy/paste the content you want from Notepad into some other document of your choice, and discard the rest???
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
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    Confuscius said: "no use running harder if you're on the wrong road" and "any problem once correctly understood is already half-solved".

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    DOCX is smaller than DOC. That's the only difference I'm aware of.
    ... and macros:

    Since Office 2007, Macros are also much easier to detect. By default, standard Office documents are saved with the “x” suffix. For example, .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Documents with these file extensions are not allowed to contain macros.
    Macros Explained: Why Microsoft Office Files Can Be Dangerous

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    ... and macros:

    Since Office 2007, Macros are also much easier to detect. By default, standard Office documents are saved with the “x” suffix. For example, .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Documents with these file extensions are not allowed to contain macros.
    Macros Explained: Why Microsoft Office Files Can Be Dangerous
    I had no idea that a .docx file couldn't contain macros. Yet another good reason to move from .doc to .docx, in case you haven't yet made the move.

  14. #10
    5 Star Lounger Vincenzo's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I am trying to give my friend some safe way to see if the suspicious documents she sometimes receives are legitimate. Since she is not real computer savvy, Notepad is an easy way.

    Thanks

  15. #11
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I delete suspicious files/emails. I never open them. I'm not that curious.
    Create a fresh drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Savvy?"—Captain Jack Sparrow "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware.
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  16. #12
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    DOCX is smaller than DOC. That's the only difference I'm aware of.
    There are a few more differences. Some notes I made a few years ago:

    DocX v Doc

    Docx differences:

    * Standards based.
    DOC is a proprietary format, DOCX is based on a key web standard XML, which makes it a lot more widely usable going forward.

    * Better for future.
    Already DOCX is better than DOC as a source for producing a wide range of output like various web and ebook formats. This difference will become more important in the future as document reading and viewing devices become more diverse.
    Also, it is far less likely that DOCX files will be obsolete or unreadable later this century.

    * Split up into component files.
    Like an EPUB file, if you rename a DOCX to ZIP, you can open it like a zip file and see it contains a bunch of folders and files.

    * Compressed.
    DOCX is compressed and therefore can be a lot smaller than a corresponding DOC.

    * Much more reliable.
    There is much less file corruption danger with a DOCX, doesn't need the old cottage industry for DOC recovery.

    * Images aren't modified.
    DOCX doesn't do any of the image manipulations DOC could do, images are stored as original copies in their own folder.

    * Can't have macro viruses.
    Since DOCX can't have macros, there's much less danger of infection. Macros now require a DOCM extension.
    Lugh.
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  18. #13
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Thanks for that information. I just saved your post into a DOCX file for future reference!

    I stayed with DOC for a long time after adopting Word 2007, for backward compatibility reasons. Then, when I noticed that DOCX took about half the space that DOC took (I was dealing with huge files), I switched to DOCX.

  19. #14
    3 Star Lounger High Sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    I delete suspicious files/emails. I never open them. I'm not that curious.
    X2. Just delete the file. Scammers depend on curiosity.
    George

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    Even though DOCX cannot contain embedded code whereas DOC can?
    From the perspective of a user an attachment is an attachment and therefore should be opened. Calling DOCX files safer relies on users recognising the difference - not a common scenario IME - so I prefer to call every attachment potentially dangerous.
    Sorry for any confusion and thanks for the clarification.

    cheers, Paul

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