Docs Very Slow Opening Over Network -- Document Corruption?

Posted on 2004-09-01
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
We have several worksatations running Windows XP Pro and Word XP and are fully patched (OS and Word both) up to date. As recently as last week, we still had a few workstations running Word 2000, but all are Word XP now. Our file server is runing Windows 2000 Advanced Server. Lately all of the workstations have been having great difficulty opening *some* documents. By slow, I mean >30 seconds to open, if at all. Four minutes to open a file is not unusual. The files which open normally, open within 1-3 seconds. Since not all of the documents are problematic, I assume document corruption. Antivirus scanning of .DOC and .DOT has been disabled system-wide.

Q. -- What can I do to determine whether the documents in question are corrupted?

Q. -- What can I do to fix the corruption -- besides opening the document, selecting all but the last paragraph mark and copying into a new document.

Q. -- What is causing the corruption?

Q. -- What can I do to prevent further corruption?

Q. -- What am I overlooking here?
Question by:GrayStrickland
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Author Comment

ID: 11956638
One more thing...

Problem documents which are copied to the local worstation for opening there open just as slowly as when they are opened over the network.
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Joanne M. Orzech
ID: 11957260
Open one of the problem documents, go to Tools, Templates and Addins and see what template is attached.  The attached template may be nonexistent or may have been moved.

LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Joanne M. Orzech
ID: 11957343
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Author Comment

ID: 12181817
We have continued to bang our head on this one. Here's what we know so far...

1. There is a documented bug that affects the combination of Windows XP Pro machines (before SP2) running Word XP (aka Word 2002) such that documents on a network share open slowly where:
  -- The template upon which the document is based is MISSING;
  -- The template upon which the document is based has been MOVED;
  -- The template upon which the document is based has been RENAMED.

Documentation of this bug can be found in Microsoft Knowledge Base Article  830561 (Documents that have attached templates take a long time to open in Word 2002) and Microsoft Knowledge Base Article  823372 (Your Word Documents Take a Long Time to Open When They Have Attached Templates).

2. We have >10,000 documents on a file server. Although many were created based on a user's local Normal.DOT template, most were based on templates stored on a server.

3. Over the years the documents and the templates upon which they are based have been moved from \\NT1 to \\Betty to \\Bambam and the relative path on the servers have chaged too as we moved from a system of sharing roots and using drive letter mappings to sharing folders.

4. There is a script described in one of the MS KB articles which will change the assigned template from whatever it is to Normal.DOT. To see what the assigned template is for any given document, choose TOOLS, TEMPLATES AND ADD-INS.

5. There is a script described in another Experts Exchange thread which will do the same thing. See We've tried this one on a few documents and it fixes them so that the open very quickly. Alternatively, you can manually change the associated template (Tools, Templates And Add-Ins) to, save it, close it and then it will open quickly (1 or 2 seconds).

6. Although our collective document history dates back 10 years, we never had problems opening documents before upgraded systems to Windows XP Pro and Word XP (aka Word 2002).

7. This problem is **supposed** to have been fixed by Windows XP Service Pack 2, but it persists in our system.

8. This problem is **not** supposed to affect Word 2003, but we have installed 2003 on one workstation, yet the problem persists.

We will uninstall Word from one of the workstations and then reinstall Word 2000 and see if the problem persists. I'll report back on the results of that test, but I expect the documents to open quickly. If I find that Word 2000 works fine, we'll have to think about either rolling back everyone in the office to Word 2000 or looking into modifying one of the scripts mentioned above to run over >10,000 documents to change their associated template to something else.

* I doubt that anyone is reading this other than me, but I wanted to make a clear trail for anyone who might possible read up on this later.

Expert Comment

ID: 12283302
Please keep the updates coming am seeing a similar issue without resolution myself yet...

Author Comment

ID: 12288932
I have had two programmers take a stab at writing an application which will run through a directory changing the currently assigned "Document Template" (to see, in Word chose TOOLs, then TEMPLATES AND ADD-INS) from whatever it is to Changing this, whether manually or programatically, fixes the problem everytime. That is, the document opens quickly after that.

The programmers each wrote a script/application which uses Word's dlls to do this. One runs truly inside of Word; the other appears to run outside of Word, but is still using Word. Both suffer from the same time lag to open the documents to fix them as our worksations do. 10,000 documents x 4 minutes each = over 30 days running 24/7 to fix. Not acceptable.

I've asked one of them to write a truly external application which will fix the documents witout using Word or any of its dlls. He is hunting for documentation on the Word document *structure* so that he can do that. I can't have him trash ten years of history for my law firm. If he can find documentation, then he will write the program and I'll share it with anyone who wants it.

Interested parties may contact me directly:   gs AT slf DOT us
LVL 37

Accepted Solution

Joanne M. Orzech earned 500 total points
ID: 12303188

I had mentioned above that the problem was probably a missing template.  There are several questions here at EE that have resolved the same problem by use of a macro which will open all files in a folder, check to see what template is attached, and then attaches an appropriate template.  That was what I was trying to find out - if you needed the macro.  So can this question be considered closed?  

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