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Fixing Microsoft Word 2003

Posted in Personal by Will on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 ~ 6pm

Most valuable bits of data I got today: How to restore the ability to open older Word documents in current versions of Word. (Microsoft recently disabled the ability to open pre-Word6 documents, causing havoc among families and businesses who were foolish enough to believe that Microsoft would support Microsoft Word forever).

UPDATE: Disregard everything below, you may not need it. Microsoft has realized they were frakking idiots and have released an executable that will repair the registry automatically: Save this and run it.

(ignore the rest of this blog entry)

Wired ran an article about this today, but the directions were not as explicit as these I found elsewhere:

In Word 2007 and Word 2003, you can disable the restriction. If you disable the restriction, you can open documents that were saved in an earlier version of Word. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Exit Word.

2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.

3. Locate and then select the following registry subkey:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Security\FileOpenBlock

[actually, for Word 2003, the number above after Office\ was eleven not twelve — I think each edition goes up one more]

Note This registry subkey may not exist. If the subkey is not present, you must create it.

[yeah, I had to create both Security and FileOpenBlock — keys look like folders, and you create them much the same way, by right-clicking on the parent “folder” that you want it to be within, and selecting New > Key]

4. After you select the subkey that is specified in step 3, point to New on the Edit menu, and then click DWORD Value.

5. Type FilesBeforeVersion, and then press ENTER.

6. Right-click FilesBeforeVersion, and then click Modify.

7. In the Value data box, type 0, and then click OK.

8. On the File menu, click Exit to exit Registry Editor.

Oh, warning warning, changing a registry must be done exactly, or all kinds of strange errors may occur that may not be correctable. You may want to look around the web for some screenshots of this to be sure you’re doing exactly what is needed.

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