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Microsoft Word Not Responding: Things You Can Do

written by: Om Thoke•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/3/2009

Have you been facing the “Microsoft Word not responding" error message too often, and sick of MS Word crashing unexpectedly every now and then? Well, there could be a variety of reasons behind this problem. So, let us take a look at possible reasons, along with the relevant remedies for this.

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    Introduction

    MS Word  not responding There might be several scenarios in which MS Word may behave unexpectedly and go into the "not responding status." For the next few minutes, you might only see the hour glass and the message "Microsoft Word not responding" will be displayed on top of the MS Word window.

    If you try to close the application, it will still be in "not responding" mode, and upon terminating it forcefully, it will crash, but the consequences may be far worse than you may expect. In certain cases, MS Word may not be able to launch normally again.

    Hence, it is about time we discussed this issue in detail. Remember, whenever MS Word crashes you may be able to recover the unsaved data after the crash, but it may not be possible in some rare cases.

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    Is MS Word Unstable?

    Frequent MS Word users must have come across the disgusting error message “Microsoft Word not responding", and have seen the hour glass several times as MS Word hangs and crashes when you try to click the close button. But, this doesn't necessarily mean that MS Word is unstable.

    As a matter of fact, MS Word (all versions after 2000) is one of the most stable applications from the house of Microsoft. But, many a time, some third party applications may be the culprit behind unexpected crashing of MS Word. So, let us proceed towards the resolution of this problem.

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    What Next?

    The very first thing that you should do is to identify any add-on third party app that you might be using in sync with MS Word. To do so, you can start Word in safe mode and then turn off these third party add-ons, and reboot your system to check the outcome.

    Here’s how you can start the MS Office suite in user-initiated safe mode:

    Click Start -> point to All Programs -> Microsoft Office -> Press and hold the CTRL key, and click on MS Word (you can click on any of the Microsoft Office program that you want to run).

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    Easier Alternative

    Alternatively, you may click on the command prompt and hit the /safe option before launching the MS Word program.

    Once you’re done with disabling the third party add-ons, you can exit the program to stop the User-Initiated Safe mode, and then you’re good to proceed normally.

    You can try either of these methods and both are known to bring about the same effect, so it hardly matters which one you choose.

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    More Miseries

    This is not the only problem that you may face with MS Word hanging. Another common scenario may be that you receive a weird message, which says “Your computer is dangerously low on resources" despite the fact that you’ve no shortage of resources. Hereafter you may not be able to even open MS Word.

    Even if you try to get rid of the useless data and empty all the files from your hard drive, the problem may not get resolved.

    But, don’t worry – this may be due to the normal.dot file on your computer being corrupted.

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    A Simple Remedy

    You may not be that familiar with the normal.dot file and even if you are, you might be struggling to launch the MS Word application and wondering what can be done when it doesn't even open up normally.

    However, though you can’t launch MS Word, you can still simply delete the corrupted file from Windows Explorer. Once you get rid of the corrupted file and try to open MS Word, a fresh normal.dot file will be automatically generated and MS Word should start functioning normally as expected.

    It would be a good idea to reboot your system after regenerating the fresh normal.dot file.






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