Error Message about WRS File

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 17, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Larry notes that when he saves a document and exits Word, he very frequently (but not quite always) gets an error message dialog that says "Word cannot open the file ~WRS{long number}.tmp." Upon dismissing the dialog box the document seems to save just fine, and he can't locate any files (on his local machine or the network) that match the file indicated in the dialog box.

The WRS files are one type of temporary file maintained by Word. The files are created while you are in a Word session, and the error message is apparently popping up because Word can't find a temporary file it created or it can't open it. If Word can't locate the file, it explains why you can't find it either when you exit the program. And, if the problem is that Word can't read the file, then it is still possible you won't be able to find the file because Word deletes all WRS files when you exit the program.

That being said, there are a couple of reasons why this problem could be happening. For instance, it could be that you are working with the file on a removable medium, such as a floppy disk or thumb drive, and the medium is being removed before you fully exit Word. Or, you could be working on a network drive and the connection is intermittent or the permissions on the network drive are screwy.

This problem has also been reported among some users if they are using an HP printer. If you do, you'll want to visit the HP website and get the latest, updated printer driver for your printer. To test whether it is the printer driver, you could also install a generic printer driver (such as one of those for a text-only printer) and then switch to that driver. Save and exit a few times to see if the problem comes up again. If it doesn't, then you know it was your original printer driver and you need to update 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 (6735) 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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