Fixing Microsoft Word Startup Issues

September 22, 2011, By Christian Cawley

The popular Microsoft Word tool is potentially the most regularly used non-browser application in the world. A staple of home offices and corporate hubs, Word enables the user to create all manner of interesting documents from journals and letters to reports, scripts and novels. Available either as a standalone product or as part of Microsoft Office, Word is east to setup and simple to use, and appeals to computing newbies and experts alike.

It isn’t all plain sailing, however. Microsoft Word 2010 usually runs OK without any problems but from time to time you might notice that things have gone slightly awry.

One such example is with starting the application. Normally once installed Word will run without a problem, but in a small number of cases launching the application (either directly or by double-clicking on a Word document icon) will prompt the Microsoft Office installer to configure the word processor again.

And again… and again.

In fact, this will happen each time you launch Word unless you do something about it.

Fixing Microsoft Word Startup Issues

Fixing the Word Startup Configuration Error

There are a couple of approaches you can take to resolve this problem.

The first is the most obvious, and requires that you run a repair on the installation. To do this you will require your Microsoft Word or Microsoft Office installer disc, so insert this into the optical drive.

Next, go to Start > Control Panel > Programs > Programs and features, find Office or Word and right-click to select Change. In the resulting screen, select Repair and then wait as the process completes.

This may take a little while, and if you’re currently running any of the Microsoft Office apps these will need to be closed for the process to correctly resolve the problem. A reboot will also be required once the repair has completed.

If this first fix doesn’t work, however, you will need to look at a different fix.

Deleting the Normal Template

This is a two-step process: first we delete the normal template for Word, and then remove a registry key. When Word is next launched, these are both regenerated, hopefully without any problem.

Begin by opening Windows Explorer and browsing to C:\Users\atomickarma\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates (or you can paste this into Start > Search). You will find the Normal.dotm file; this is the default template file for Word. Delete it by right-clicking and selecting Delete.

The next step is to make a change to the registry. Make sure that you have exited all Office programs and then click Start and type regedit into the search box and tap Enter. This will open the Windows registry. Be aware that any changes you make here can damage the operating system and lead to instability, so stick to the steps below.

Use the search tool in the registry or browse to the following registry subkey:


Select Data, and then click File > Export, and name the file Wddata.reg before saving to the desktop. In the registry, with the folder still selected, go to Edit > Delete and click Yes to confirm the action, and then exit Registry Editor.

Next, start Word – if it opens as you would normally expect then the fix has worked. If there is no change or Word will not open at all, go to your desktop and run the Wddata.reg file to restore the key back to the registry.

In most cases, this should work; if not a full uninstall, restart and reinstall will be required.

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