word document not opening in IE8

I have a computer with internet explorer 8. I click on a link to a word document and a screen comes up but it never displays the word document, it stays blank.
On a separate computer i have IE 9 and even other IE8 computers they click on the link and the document opens just fine.
Could this be an IE8 setting on this one computer that prevents the document from being opened ?  if so ... what to check for ?  If not IE8 what else to check for. This is a windows XP computer. Andyes, they do have word installed in that computer ;)
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Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
It sounds like the IE8 ... well, it's not an association, but it's the equivalent ... anyway, the MIME type that handles documents of explicit type MS Word, which is application/msword has been lost or was not installed.

Microsoft has a hotfix that may be of assistance.
try the fix on this link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/162059

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