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Office 2003 Word & Excel shortcuts slow to open

Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a client site running about a dozen PC's, all running XP Pro, SP3, Office 2003 SP3.  Recently, in the last three weeks, these machines began experiencing extremely slow opening when initiating shortcuts of Word and Excel files.  This is not universal, sometimes they open with a typical delay, 3 to 20 seconds, where at other times, the delay can be up to 2 minutes.  This applies whether the files are opening from a local drive or a share on the server.

I have reviewed obvious issues including Anti-Virus, running Norton A/V 2006 which I both deleted as well as upgraded to 2009 with no effect.  The laptops run Norton Internet Security 2007, which also was upgraded to 2009 without any impact.

I have also looked for obvious issues at the server NIC, and there are no errors being recorded on the switch either for the server or PC ports.

I have checked for Spyware on select PC's and nothing other than a few cookies.  I have also run netstat -a looking for calls to unknown devices with no results.  I've cleaned up printer configurations including deletion of ports no longer used.

The one scenario which is very unusual is that my laptop, running XP Pro SP3, Office Professional 2003 SP3 which I connected to the common share at this clients site on Friday did not experience the delay in opening files even when I placed shortcuts on my desktop.

Lastly, if I open either Word or Excel and then drag the shortcut into the app, the files open nearly instantaneously, much faster than any other fashion.

I am at a loss although it seems that when I search on this issue that I am by no means the only one experiencing this issue.  It also appears to me that this issue may have been created by Microsoft's patches either on XP or Office 2003.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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