I ran into an interesting problem at a site a few weeks back. A user had a laptop with Vista and Office 2007. Here were the symptoms:
1. When the user double-clicked on a Word attachment in Outlook, Word would open but the document wouldn’t. After the user closed the Word session, it would immediately hang.
2. When the user double-clicked on a Word document on the desktop, it would open Word but an error would come up stating it could not find the path or file. When closing the Word session, it would hang.
3. When the user opened Word first, then navigated to the desktop or attachment folder from within Word, the document would open correctly. Word would still hang when closing.
In every case, the Word options were grayed-out, so disabling add-ins was not possible.
The first step to solving the problem involved disabling add-ins temporarily in order to enter the Word Options. Enter “winword.exe /a” in the Run/Search dialog in the Start Menu. From the File Menu in Word select Word Options -> Add-ins. Disable all add-ins through the “manage ### add-ins” drop-down. After this was performed the user could open Word documents from Outlook and the Desktop without hassle. Word would still crash upon exiting.
The next step was to navigate to: Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates and delete normal.dotm. This file is the default template in Word 2007 (normal.dot for Word 2003). This normally does the trick with a hanging Word app since it forces Word to re-create the template. In this particular case it did not work.
As it turns out, the following registry key is responsible for re-creating the template:
If the registry key itself is corrupted, every normal.dotm template that is re-created would be corrupt. By deleting the entire registry key (which would be re-created) it solved the problem of Word hanging on exit.
Other symptoms that could be caused by a bad add-in or corrupt normal.dotm/registry key:
Word crashes when you try to start or to exit Word.
You cannot open a Word document from Windows Desktop Search.
The mouse does not work when you use Word 2007.
You cannot open a Word document from the Search window in Windows Vista.