Clive has a system that just hasn't worked correctly since he installed and then removed Open Office. Now, when he double-clicks a Word document in Windows Explorer, the document doesn't open. Instead, what he gets is a blank document. He can still open the documents using File | Open (within Word), but cannot double-click to open a document.
The first thing to check is to make sure that the file extensions are correctly associated with Word. Since double-clicking on a Word document in Windows Explorer opens Word, the file types are probably associated correctly, but it doesn't hurt to go through the steps anyway. From the command line, use the following command:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\winword.exe" /unregserver
The quotes are necessary, but you may need to change the path so it reflects the location of the winword.exe file on your system. (You can use Windows' Search tool to locate the path to the winword.exe file.) The /unregserver switch "unhooks" all the references to Word in the Windows Registry. You should then, immediately, use the following command:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\winword.exe" /regserver
This command causes Word to rewrite all its Registry keys and to reassociate itself with document and template files. Now you can double-click a document file and see if Windows starts Word and opens the document.
If this does not work, you'll need to try a few other things. First, start Word and let it try to detect and repair any problems with itself. Do this by choosing Detect and Repair from the Help menu. Word displays the Detect and Repair dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Detect and Repair dialog box.
Accept the default settings (only Restore My Shortcuts While Repairing is selected), then click OK. Word may ask you to insert the original installation CD-ROM, depending on what it detects and needs to repair.
If that still doesn't work, the problem is most likely rooted in the default action for the DOC file type being set to "New" instead of "Open." To correct this problem, follow these steps in Windows, while Word is closed:
- Use Windows Explorer to open a folder window. (It doesn't matter which folder; any of them will do.)
- Choose Folder Options from the Tools menu. Windows displays the Folder Options dialog box.
- Make sure the File Types tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2. The File Types tab of the Folder Options dialog box.
- Scroll through the list of Registered File Types until you find the option for DOC files. Select this option.
- Click the Advanced button. Windows displays the Edit File Type dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 3. The Edit File Type dialog box.
- The dialog box lists a series of actions that can be performed on DOC files. One of those actions should be shown in bold-face type. Normally it is the Open action that is in bold. If it is in bold, skip to step 10.
- Click once on the Open action.
- Click Set Default. The Open action should now be shown in bold-face type.
- Skip to step 19.
- Double-click the Open action. Windows opens the Editing Action dialog box. (See Figure 4.)
Figure 4. The Editing Action dialog box.
- Make sure the Action box contains &Open.
- Make sure the Application Used to Perform Action contains the following. (The path shown may need to be modified for your particular system and version of Word.)
"D:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\WINWORD.EXE" /n /dde
- Make sure the Use DDE check box is selected.
- Make sure the DDE Message box contains the following:
- Make sure the Application box contains the word WinWord.
- The DDE Application Not Running box should be empty.
- Make sure the Topic box contains the word System.
- Click OK to close the Editing Action dialog box.
- Click OK to close the Edit File Type dialog box.
- Click OK to close the Folder Options dialog box.
You should now be able to double-click a Word document in Windows Explorer and have it open the actual document.
Comments for this tip:
Larry Jasorka 26 Feb 2014, 12:46
Using Windows 7, Office 97. All functions were working ok. Now Word will not open. Deleted all including all registry related items. Reinstalled original plus sr_1 and sr_2. Still "winword.exe" will not open. Tried to install sr_2 patch. It failed to install. Final notation in the log file was "Unable to open C:\Windows\Fonts\tahoma.ttf sr2patch failed." Using "openoffice" until I get it "winword.exe" to open.
Liu 02 Jan 2014, 00:21
I have used MS Word Diagnose tool to fix the problem (Version 07, windows7) and then after about a month the problem happens again.I fixed it again with Diagnose tool. Now I am worrying this problem may happen again soon. What could be the cause for this kind of problem?
Jay 20 Dec 2013, 13:07
I had the exact problem described (Microsoft Word 2007 running in Windows 7). I ran the program Microsoft Office Diagnostics, and after it ran a 5 minute test the issue was resolved. Thank you for posting this article.
Suman Dutta 30 Sep 2013, 23:04
Thanks for your information. As per your instruction i follow the steps then after again i place my comments.
Patrick Barbour 30 Aug 2013, 04:28
Thanks mucho, the Word self repair option did the trick for me (Word 2007: Office Button menu/Word Options/'Resources').
My problem was that I started getting an empty Word app screen when double clicking on a Windows Explorer docx file - right after installing Excel 2010 beside Office 2007.
dm 24 Aug 2013, 15:31
I have Win 7 x64 and Office 2003 as well as Word 2010 installed. That worked for long times without any problem. I could open doc-files as well as docx files with double-click in Word 2003. But two weeks ago I couldn't open .doc files any longer with Word by a double-click in Explorer. After a double-click Word opened, but not the document (probably the same phenomen as mentioned by Raymond). I tried the regserver/unregserver, but this didn't work. It was the "Detect and Repair" function, that solved the problem. Thank you, Allen!
Chris S. 02 May 2013, 14:51
I have to second Bill Smith's question. I'm also using Win 7 and can open .docx files but not .doc files with a double click. Thank you!
Raymond 24 Apr 2013, 16:30
However I have found this manual and it is working!! Maybe it is bad way but is working ;-)
In "Application Used to Perform Action" delete /dde and instead write "%1" and uncheck Use DDE. That's it.
Raymond 24 Apr 2013, 16:14
Hi, thanks for this topic,
but I tried everything above but after double click on document (*.doc) MS Word (2003)still opens empty.
/When is MS Word opend, everything is working correct./
Do you have some idea, please?
Jeremy Peachey 23 Mar 2013, 08:18
Thank you so much for this - I went for the Word self diagnose method first and it worked. This was for my wife's church Sunday school stuff among other things so really do appreciate your contribution to the community on this.
Larry 03 Mar 2013, 16:36
Thank you so much for the info
Mindy 01 Feb 2013, 11:28
I have been successfully using Microsoft Word 2000 for many many years. Suddenly, yesterday, I tried to open a Word doc and to my surprise the Word installer opened up and started trying to install Word. It then was requiring me to insert the CD-ROM which, unfortunately, I no longer have. Why would it do this? I access docs on a daily basis and am lost without them.
Might you know what could be going on?
I run XP.
Also, another very weird thing that has just started happening is anytime I am on a website offering a pdf download that I want, I click on it. Once it begins to open, my entire screen goes dark (not completely black, just dark where I can still see) and completely freezes. I have to then force close Firefox. Ugghh. And...no pdf for me.
Don't know if these could be related in any way as I am not tech savvy at ALL, but they have both started happening within the same week.
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
Charles R. McConnell 05 Jan 2013, 18:43
Cannot open MS Word 2000 from desktop after I deleted several MS Word files from the desktop.
Jay 28 Apr 2012, 15:35
My wife has the opposite issue,
word or excel will open documents if she clicks on them from windows explorer or if they're on her desktop, but if she opens word or excel first, then tries open/file she gets an error
"Microsoft word has stopped working and will try to recover"
it never does recover
using windows 7 and office 2010 on a toshiba satellite laptop.
Bill Smith 25 Apr 2012, 12:20
How do you do this in Windows 7. I am having the same issue. I can change the extensions of my Word documents to .docx and they open fine with a double click. They will not, however, open with a double click if they have a .doc extension.
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