What do you mean with a Wordpad-document? Wordpad - in Windows XP - can save a file with a .rtf-extension or with a .txt extension. And Word can save a file with a .rtf-extension, with a .doc (default) and many more. So a rtf-file can be considered both as a Wordpad and as a Word file.
Wordpad can open .doc-files in an old format, but I don't think it wil read .doc-file from Office 2003. Your need MS Word for that.
So the things to research:
1. with what file extension does Word save its files (and, if rtf, why don't you specify that it must be .doc)?
2. what's the file association for that filetype (and for the .doc filetype)?
Go into Control Panel>Folder Options (or from My Computer, or from Windows Explorer). Use the View tab to UNCHECK the option to hide extensions for known file types, so you will see .rtf, .txt and .doc.
Use the Filetypes tab to find out what program these file types are opened with.
Post back your findings. I suppose a repair install of MS Office is all that is needed, but it's useful to know more of the problem first.
Hope this helps.
I recently had to reinstall my XP operating system on my HP laptop. I was able to save all of my documents, which were all in Word03. After reinstalling my operating system and re-registering my Microsoft products, all of my Word documents are now in WordPad. Office 03 is installed, and I can open the program, but anytime I try to save a file it gets saved as a WordPad document.