Stopping Word from Accessing the Internet

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 25, 2014)

Verle noted that every time he starts Word it tries to access the Internet. So far the only way he has been able to stop it is by using his firewall program, but he can't help but think there must be another way.

Generally speaking, Word will access the Internet only when you use Help or when you click a link. If a link is on a network and you have Word configured to update automatic links when a document is opened, then Word may also try to access the Internet. However, just starting Word with a blank document should not cause it to access the Internet.

That being said, there are a few things you can check out. First, look in your Word Startup folder to see if there are any templates located there that might contain AutoExec macros. Since anything in the Startup folder is automatically loaded when you start Word, those AutoExec macros get run. If those macros access the Internet, then it will always seem like Word is accessing the Internet when you start the program.

You can also start Word and check to see which templates and add-ins are loading when Word starts. If those have any AutoExec macros that access the Internet, then you'll run into the same problem.

If all else fails, start Word from the command prompt using the following command:

winword.exe /a

This starts Word without any add-ins and without the default template. It should not access the Internet. If the Internet is accessed when you start Word normally and it doesn't access the Internet when you use the command-line approach, then you know that you've missed something in a template or add-in.

If your default template includes some "boilerplate" unique to your company, that boilerplate could be causing the Internet to be accessed, or at least your network to be accessed. This is particularly true if the template includes links to network documents or if it contains graphics (such as a logo) that must be refreshed from a remote location.

Another thing you might check is whether your copy of Word is trying to update the workspace based on shared settings over your network. If you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the General tab is displayed.
  3. Click the Service Options button. Word displays the Service Options dialog box.
  4. Make sure that Customer Feedback Options is selected at the left of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Service Options dialog box.

  6. Choose the No, I Don't Wish to Participate radio button.
  7. At the left of the dialog box, click Online Content.
  8. Clear the Show Content and Links from Microsoft Office Online check box.
  9. At the left of the dialog box, click Shared Workspace.
  10. At the right of the dialog box, search for any radio button that is labeled, in part, "Never." Choose these.
  11. Click OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5889) applies to Microsoft Word 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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