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Microsoft Word 2003 Will Not Open

by Jordan Skylar / July 19, 2008 10:04 AM PDT

I'm having problems with Microsoft Word 2003. I tried to open several DOC files from the Explore (My Documents) display. Word would not open at all. The hourglass displayed for only a few seconds and then disappeared. I also tried to open Word from the Start menu, but the same thing happened.

I rebooted and tried again. I opened 1 file, but that automatically closed in ~1 minute. After that, I could not open another file.
I rebooted several times again and could not open any files.

I'm running Windows XP Media Center SP2 and MS Word 2003. I use several security programs. I have Norton 360 Version 2. I also use Webroot Spy Sweeper, a-squared, and SUPERAntiSpyware Free Edition.

I can't think of anything I've done to corrupt Word at all. Any ideas please?


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Tried the Old "Word Fix Yet?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 20, 2008 10:15 AM PDT

Do a search of the computer for a file named "" (yes, that's normal dot dot) You may find one or many of such files. When the search is finished, DELETE all that appear in the search display.. Restart the computer and open Word again.

Hope this helps.


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Sorry, But That Didn't Work
by Jordan Skylar / July 21, 2008 10:41 AM PDT

Hi Grif,
Thanks for your recommendation. Unfortunately, it did not work. When I did the search, a file was not found.

Several other online answers basically said the same thing. One also said that Windows XP treats as a hidden system file and the file might not show up when I search.

I clicked on My Computer --> Tools --> Folder Options --> View Tab. I checked the box for "Show hidden files and folders", and then removed the checks for the "Hide extensions for known file types" and "Hide protected operating system files" boxes. (Information from online).

I did this, but a search still did not show any files.

Whenever I reboot my system, Word still will not work. On the first attempt of trying to open Word, it seems like it will open (the hourglass remains there). Most often the hourglass just goes away and nothing happens.

Any other things I can try? Thanks again.

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"When I did the search, a file was not found."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 21, 2008 11:14 AM PDT

This file when not found means that Microsoft Office from 95 to 2003 is not in use or an error was made when looking.

Let's skip forward and note that for Office 2003 you can open your files with the free application from


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by Jordan Skylar / July 27, 2008 10:23 PM PDT

Thanks for the information. I briefly checked out and it's interesting. I'll look at it again after I solve my current Word problem.


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Before or after.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 27, 2008 10:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Using

Many end up installing this before they solve the problem because they have a paper due and can't wait to see if they can fix Word.

I'd get this installed if there is a deadline approaching or even if you need a backup solution for when Word fails you again.

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On This Office 2003 Computer, The File is Hidden..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 21, 2008 3:34 PM PDT

In order for "Search" to find it, I click on Start-Search-All Files and Folders, type in "" (without the quotes) in the "All or part of the file name" section, then click on the "More Advanced Options" arrow below, then select "Search System folders", "Search hidden files and folders" and "Search Subfolders".

Hope this helps.


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I've Tried This Many Times ... No Luck
by Jordan Skylar / July 21, 2008 4:04 PM PDT

Hi Grif,
Yes, I tried searching for making sure the "Search System folders", "Search hidden files and folders", and "Search Subfolders" were all selected.

I've tried this about 7 times. I'm persistent! LOL! Actually, different things have occurred each time I did a search. Sometimes, no file was found, but when I restarted my PC, Word would still not open. Another time, Word started to open and I got a message saying that the file was corrupted and did I want to create a new one. I replied Yes, but Word still didn't work correctly. Word opened and displayed a blank screen. However, when I tried to open a file, Word wouldn't open it and then it closed.

Another time, Search found 3 copies of the file in the Recycle Bin. Again, I deleted the files, restarted, and Word still wouldn't open.

It seems like Word will not work at all on my PC. That stinks because I am a writer and use Word all of the time.

Any other suggestions? Thanks again.

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by Maddogmcree / July 21, 2008 7:20 PM PDT

Normally search might have troubles with finding it. is in the following folder.

Note: Before trying to find it, make sure you can view hidden files.

My Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Documents and Settings > (Your User) > Application Data > Microsoft > Templates

Make sure Word is closed before you delete

Open word, a new should be created and your problem 'should' be resolved.

If however this problem still occurs, attempt to uninstall Word but instead of unintalling you need to click repair.



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Searching the folder where resides
by Jordan Skylar / July 27, 2008 10:26 PM PDT
In reply to:

Thanks for your input. I did find the file in the path you indicated. Again, even after deleting the file and rebooting several times, Word still won't open. I'm going to try the uninstall.


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And You Tried Uninstalling, Then Reinstalling Office 2003?
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 22, 2008 5:51 AM PDT

And have you install the most recent Service Pack 3 from the Office Updates site? Here's a link to the full standalone installer of SP3 is you want it..

If you've done all that, then do a complete uninstall, then use the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to remove any remnants of Office.. After that, reinstall Office 2003, then install the most recent service packs and updates from Office Updates. (Click on the link below, then click on the small "Office Update" link in the upper left side of the page.. You'll be taken to a page which requires you to download some ActiveX scanners, much like the Windows Updates site, then click on Continue a few times so the program can scan your computer and offer you the required updates.:

And by the way, maybe you made a "typo" but the file you're supposed to be looking for is NOT "" as you wrote in your post above...but instead ""..

Hope this helps.


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Service Pack 3, Uninstalling Word, Applying Service
by Jordan Skylar / July 27, 2008 10:32 PM PDT

I must admit that I have not installed Service Pack 3.

I think I will uninstall Word and follow your advice about reinstalling it and applying the service updates. If I have problems, I'll be back here asking more questions!

It was a mistake typing "". I am using "". I guess you're really paying attention ... Wink


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problem with M S office 2003 on a VISTA home prem. 32-bit
by imgrateful_1 / August 21, 2011 8:02 AM PDT

helpppp! these posted exchanges fit my problem also. I tried installing the updates and it said it was for XP. installation failed. I'm now in the process of installing the alternate "back up" mentioned here in the comments. (openOffice) We do have the original disk for M S WORD STUDENT edit. Also I tried the answer instruction for going the step. Mad's reply here gave steps that lead to MY COMP. and went to document settings. when I clicked there I got an error message >>>>> Documents settings is not accessible. access denied. so I can'nt try that as a method to correct this problem. Word doesn't open so any attempt to open a document won'nt open. The error message I get when first discovered was >>>>> Microsoft Word is trying to recover information. MS word has stopped working. Word was working earlier in the day. (morning) thanks much for help. imgrateful_1 always.

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by Kees_B Forum moderator / August 21, 2011 6:50 PM PDT

If it's a problem, even uninstall and reinstall of Word from the CD won't help. In that case, you really have to (a) find your and delete it, or (b) make a new Windows account and continue there.

You're not clear about "document settings" and "documents settings". Assuming you mean the folder c:\Documents and Settings\<your username> it should be accessible, or you can't even logon.


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I agree with your conclusions
by desktopSMS / August 28, 2011 2:09 PM PDT

I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your future updates from next one. Just saying thanks will not just be enough, for the fantastic clarity in you guys answer.

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Documents won't open in word 2003 (SP3 installed already)
by grandwazooo / October 5, 2011 2:18 AM PDT

Open Word 2003 but do not open any documents. Go to Help menu and select 'Detect and Repair'. Follow instructions and wait. This Fixed my problem when NO word documents would open in Word 2003 (SP3 installed) on Windows XP (SP3).

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