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Microsoft Word normal.dot/global template issue

Posted on 2009-03-31
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a user that is having a problem every time he closes MS Word 2003 on a WinXP Pro machine.  First, after clicking the exit box in the upper right gets a pop up that says:

"This file is in use by another application or user. (C:\Documents and Settings\..\Normal.dot)

The only option is Show Help or OK.  When you click OK you get a save location window.  Canceling out of that you get the next pop up:

"Changes have been made that affect the global template, Normal. Do you want to save those changes?"

This one gives Yes, No, Cancel, or Show Help.

I've search and found some "solutions" relating to a corrupted Normal.dot file, to add-ins, and macro's, prompting to save, etc.  None of those applies or fixed the issue.  I've also tried reinstalling Office.

I've notice that once Word is closed the WINWORD.EXE process still runs.  Killing that process fixes the problem until Word is opened/closed again.

My next step would be to remove office and clear out the registry and reinstall.  I was hoping that someone would have a better solution.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Apexadmin
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Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
ID: 24034390
Have you checked to see how many instances of Winword are running before you try to close the visible one.
It is easy to programatically create an invisible instance of Winword, so you could have a rogue macro or add-in - not necessarily in Word itself.
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by:RapidDelp
ID: 24035425
Outlook will start up winword and keep it going if you use word as an editor.

Reinstalling office does not clean up Normal.dot or your templates either, you might check to make sure there is not something funny going on there.

Check the size of your Normal.dot file.  If it is bigger than a few hundred K, it may be the source of your problem.

to check, open your templates folder:

start->run type in %APPDATA%/Microsoft/Templates

check out Normal.dot

If it is huge:
 1. Close Word
 2. rename Normal.dot to (for example) Old_Normal.dot
 3. start Word again.
 4. Tools->Templates and Addins
 5. Click on Organizer
 6. In the Organizer, close the current file (the other file open will be Normal
click Open File and select Old_Normal.dot
copy any of the styles, autotext,toolbars, and macros that you want to Normal.dot

 7. Hold down the Shift key and select files->Save Add
 8. Exit word.
 9. Make a copy of Normal.dot to SaveNormal.dot
     This will be the recovery Normal.dot that you can recover from in the future.
10. I suggest that you then right click on Normal.dot, select properties and select read-only

It will now complain that it cannot write on exti and ask if you want to save it elsewhere, but I have this setup, and it lats me say no every time.
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Author Comment

by:Apexadmin
ID: 24039421
Graham,  Word is not configured with any Macros or Add-ins.  He does use a case management application that uses Word, but it doesn't invoke an instance until you open a .doc file linked within the app.

Rapid,  I'm not sure of the size of the normal.dot file, I'll check that out.  I did delete the existing normal.dot file as that has fixed many issues in the past when Word is acting wonky.  I haven't tried your steps 6-10.  I'll give those a shot.

More to follow...
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Expert Comment

by:dlc110161
ID: 24041270
Make sure you don't have your template getting automatically updated. Go to your Tools menu, select Templates and Add ins. Make sure you do not have a checkmark in Automatically update document styles.

Hope it helps.

Dawn Crosier-Bleuel
Word MVP
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GrahamSkan earned 500 total points
ID: 24042302
There are several troubleshooting links here. There may be some that you haven't tried, especially the one about the registry key.

http://www.officearticles.com/word/steps_to_troubleshooting_microsoft_word.htm
             
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Author Comment

by:Apexadmin
ID: 25348593
I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling Office which seems to have fixed the problem.
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Expert Comment

by:GrahamSkan
ID: 25348700
Yes. That is actually the last step in the link that I posted. Usually an earlier step does the trick.
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Expert Comment

by:RapidDelp
ID: 25351070
Just glad that you got it working again, and came back and told us.  Thanks!
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