Posted by & filed under Windows / Server.

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 ( 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.

(1.92 out of 5)

10 Responses to “Word Crashes on Exit – Hangs on Word Attachments in Outlook”

  1. Michael

    8 hours of trial and error ! This is RIDICULOUS !!! I have tried myriads of solutions to this bug where Word crashes upon launch of a .doc attachment in outlook, and the solution in my case is truly unbelievable:

    ******disable the reading pane from within word, under tools -> Options -> general.******

    No connection whatsoever to any solution offered, works 100% for me, and I wouldn’t have thought about it were it not that Word was opening some word attachments in the reading pane mode, while others were crashing. As soon as I disabled the reading pane, VOILA !!! Word and outlook work in conjunction now.

  2. Charles Bartels

    Deleting the registry key worked like a charm for me. The problem i had is that Word would hang on exit, nothing related with outlook.

  3. YSR

    Thank you so much for your help, saved me from a day of hell, trying to figure it out.

    Worked like a charm!

  4. Carl

    Thanks a million for the fix. Worked for me, although it is worth noting that it did not work the first time I opened Word after deleting the Data folder. I assume that on this opening Word was recreating the folder and its files.


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