Learn how to troubleshoot Word startup issues using methods including; insert the document into another file, using the /a switch to start Word, deleting the Word Data and options registry keys and replacing the Normal.dot or Normal.dotm global template file
- [Instructor] Sometimes you may experience issues when launching or running Word. The first thing you should always do is ensure that Windows and Office is up to date. But if the problem continues to occur, follow these steps in order. Our first step is to insert the document that we're having problems with into another file. Using this method leaves the last paragraph mark behind. And this is important because the last paragraph mark contains information about the document. And when you leave it behind, you may be able to retrieve the text if that document has been damaged.
This is a simple process. Simply open Word, select a new blank document. In the Insert tab, scroll over to the right to the Text group and then select Object. We're going to go ahead and create a new document from a file. So we will select Create from File and then browse for our damaged document or the document that's giving us a hard time. My document document is the Landon event planning letter. I'm going to go ahead and click Open and then OK.
As you can see, we have the text from that letter inserted into our new blank document. And we can now retrieve the data that was copied. If this does not work and you still cannot launch Word appropriately, then you can go ahead and start Word using the a switch. Using the a switch prevents add-ins and the global templates from being loaded. Using this switch will also lock the file from being read or edited, giving you the opportunity to pull out data. To go ahead and start Word with the A switch, the first thing we need to do is shut down our current version.
I'm going to go ahead and close that. No, I will not save. And you go ahead, you can use the Start key. Type run. And your screen may look different than mine. And then we'll enter winword.exe /a and then click OK. What this has done is opened up Word, but the add-ins and global templates are not loaded. If there was an add-in problem at this point you could go and correct it. If the problem still exists, then our next troubleshooting step is to remove the Word data registry subkey.
This subkey contains the most frequently used options in Word. Deleting it forces Word to rebuild the key using the default values. Before we go any further, please understand that we are going to modify the system registry. We'll start by closing Word once again and then launching our registry. To do so, Start key, and then start typing regedit. And you're looking for regedit.exe. You'll notice that it opened up to the last place it was when we closed it.
So I'm going to scroll all the way up to the top. Now let's navigate to the data subkey. You'll start at HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and then down to Software and Microsoft. And then scroll all the way down to Office. I happen to be using Word 2016, therefore the corresponding folder would be 16. Yours will be different if you're using a different version of Word. Next, scroll all the way down to Word.
And then select the Data registry subkey. Please do not delete it as of yet. Please make sure to backup this registry key first. If an error is made while editing the registry, it could seriously affect your system. So let's go ahead and back this up first. To do so, right-click, Export. I'm going to pop it right onto my desktop. Provide a name, and click Save. Now I can safely go ahead and delete this key.
So I right-click, Delete. Are you sure? Yes, I'm sure. And that key is now gone. At this point, you would go ahead and restart Word and see if the issue is still continuing. If it is continuing, then we'll go ahead and restore the key that we just deleted. To do so, as you recall, we saved it on the desktop. We're just going to double-click it. A register editor warning pops up, asking us if we're sure that we want to add this key back into the registry.
I'm going to go ahead and say Yes. And it has been successfully added again. If I pop back into the registry, we'll see that it is now there. Now you would go ahead and launch Word. If you still continue to experience issues in Word, you'll come back to the registry, and we'll move on to the next step. And the next step is to remove the Options registry subkey. And just like before, what we're going to do is back this up first. So Export. I'm going to call it optionsregkey.
Save. And then I can safely delete this. Yes, I know I'm going to delete it and all its subkeys. You would now go ahead and launch Word. If this did not resolve the issue, then you can safely restore the Options key following the same procedure we used to restore the Data key. If Word is still continuing to give you some problems, our final step is to rename the Normal.dot or Normal.dotm templates.
I'm going to go ahead and close down the registry so we can go ahead and do this. The easiest way to do this is via File Explorer. And you'll find these templates in your profile folder. So you'll pop into C drive, Users. This system happens to be called Sharon. I'm going to go ahead, expand that. Pop into AppData. Roaming, Microsoft, and finally, you may have to scroll down to Templates.
And you'll notice that we have a list of templates here. And as you can see, we have our Normal.dotm plus an oldNormal.dotm, so this has already been renamed once. The Normal.dot or Normal.dotm is the default Word template, and it contains all the formatting, auto text, macros, and other customizations. If you delete it, then Word is forced to recreate a clean template. But be aware, when it recreates a clean template, all the customizations that you have applied to Word will not be recreated.
Now, Microsoft does recommend that you rename this file instead of deleting it. Renaming it is very simply done by selecting the file, right-clicking, and then Rename. We'll call this one older. Click Enter. Now when we go ahead and launch Word again, a new global template will be created. Let's go ahead, launch Word. We'll do a blank template. I'm going to go ahead and close Word. And you'll notice that we now have a brand new, clean Normal.dotm.
For other troubleshooting, tricks, and techniques, please refer to the Word help center.
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