Delay in Dialog Box Appearing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 15, 2014)

Rebecca noted that the first time she tries to use a function such as Find/Replace in a document, there is a several-second delay (the hourglass appears for 15+ seconds) before the Find and Replace dialog box appears. After the first time, there is no delay at all. This is a relatively new occurrence, as she never noticed this delay beyond the past couple of months.

In all likelihood, the problem is being caused by Windows and not by Word. There are a couple of things with Windows that could be causing the problem, and most of them have to do with your hard drive.

Why your hard drive? Because Windows relies on it quite a bit. If you don't have a lot (and I mean a LOT) of memory in your computer, then Windows needs to periodically swap information between memory and the hard drive. This swapping can take time. If your hard drive is having problems of any type that would result in a slow transfer of information, then it will slow down the programs you are using in Windows.

Part of the solution to the problem may be as simple as running a defragmenter to optimize the way information is stored on your hard drive. You can search for information in Windows' Help system on defragmenting hard drives, or you can do a search on the Internet for information. (It is not hard to do, but does take some time.)

If you are running a lot of programs at the same time on your system (i.e., you have a lot of tasks visible in the Taskbar area), then you might try closing a few of those programs to see if Word operates at a bit more perky level. Lots of open programs will use a lot of resources, and therefore those resources won't be available to Word when it needs them.

If these things don't significantly speed up your use of Word (so you don't see the delays in the dialog boxes appearing), then it could be that you have some other unseen problem with your system. For instance, it could be that you have some sort of malware infestation on your system. Many of these types of programs will "eat up" system resources, making your other programs appear slower. You can find out by getting a good anti-virus program and running it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (584) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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