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Creating new Word process causes "the existing file cannot be opened by Word (Normal.dotm)" RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    our program is creating a new Word process with CoCreateInstance. On some machines running Word 2010 this sometimes causes the message "Word cannot open the existing file Normal.dotm" when there already is another Word process.

    The Normal.dotm is probably locked by the other process, but why is this only happening sometimes and only on certain machines? What could cause this? Might there be a way to work around this?

    We do not want to re-use the existing process because it might still be used by the user and we do not want to interfere with his work.

    Any help is appreciated. Thank you in advance

    Friday, September 19, 2014 11:40 AM

Answers

  • I already tried both those steps :(

    It's ok. We gave this back to our customer since the issue seems unrelated to our software (it also happens when our software is not involved). They will probably do a fresh install of Windows.

    Thank you very much for your help, Rich.

    Monday, September 29, 2014 5:57 AM

All replies

  • Friday, September 19, 2014 6:54 PM
  • Thank you for your answer.

    yes, if I delete the global template before starting the Word process the error does not occur. But then it will occur the next time when there is an already existing template.

    Do you think there is something corrupting the global template? I disabled all add-ins and deleted the normal.dotm and it still occurs (after the normal.dotm has been restored by Word).

    Edit: I have no idea why the second paragraph has a smaller font and I also don't know how to change it.


    • Edited by 61087627 Tuesday, September 23, 2014 10:46 AM second paragraph has a smaller font
    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 10:44 AM
  • I just found out that the issue can be reproduced outside our software (but only on the affected machines) by doing the following:

    1. Start a normal Word process
    2. Start a Word process in command line with the parameters /automation -embedding

    By using Process Monitor from SysInternals I also found out that the normal.dotm is being opened normally (the log is exactly the same as on machines on which the error does not occur). The error message that the normal.dotm can not be opened seems to be simply wrong.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014 1:56 PM
  • Hi 61087627,

    >> The Normal.dotm is probably locked by the other process, but why is this only happening sometimes and only on certain machines? What could cause this? Might there be a way to work around this?

    Since this issue only occured on a certain machine, I suspect this issue is related to the environment. Currently, it is still very difficult for us to identify the root cause of this issue based on your description.

    I found a similar thread which may give you some help.

    word cannot open existing file (normal.dotm)

    If you have multiple versions of Office installed on that machine, you could try Doug Robbins’s answer.

    If you have only Office 2010 installed on that machine, you could try Stefan Blom’s answer to delete temp files related to normal.dot file.

    Regards,

    Jeffrey


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    Friday, September 26, 2014 6:01 AM
    Moderator
  • Thank you for your response.

    Unfortunately we already tried everything proposed in that thread (I had found that thread before opening mine).

    We are currently investigating if a third party software on the machine is the cause by deinstalling one after another. I will post the results.

    Friday, September 26, 2014 6:10 AM
  • FWIW - The Normal template gets locked for update if there is a Style in the current document or the template itself that is set to Automatically Update. The locked template will not be released until the current running instance of Word is closed.

    So it can be a 3rd party add-in that is trying to update the template, but it also can be how the styles are defined within the Normal template itself on the machine or within a document that is currently open and being edited.

    Check the commonly used Styles such as Normal (the body style) and all Headings.


    Kind Regards, Rich ... http://greatcirclelearning.com


    Friday, September 26, 2014 11:17 AM
  • Thank you for your response, Rich.

    Unfortunately it still happens even when I delete the normal.dotm or if I copy the normal.dotm from a machine on which this issue does not occur.

    I also disabled all add-ins already.

    Friday, September 26, 2014 12:16 PM
  • You might have already did these things but I'll just run down the list of things I would do.

    1. Before deleting the Normal template, make sure no instance of Word is running. The Normal template from any open instance will automatically replace the one you thought you got rid of.
    2. Check Word > Options and make sure the option to prompt upon saving the Normal template is disabled.
    3. Check user permissions on the location where the Normal template is stored. Usually %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Templates
    4. Scan the system for any duplicate versions of the Normal.dotm file. If Word does not find the Normal template in the Users Template location it will look in other places and use what it finds. You can also look where Word is set to first look by checking Word > Options > Advanced > File Locations and look where it's pointing for the User Templates and Work Group Templates.

    Kind Regards, Rich ... http://greatcirclelearning.com

    Friday, September 26, 2014 12:29 PM
  • 1. Did that

    2. Is disabled

    3. What permissions exactly are you looking for? I'm not sure what you mean.

    4. I made sure with Process Monitor from SysInternals that the correct normal.dotm file is being used. And also when I delete the normal.dotm, I can see it being restored in the same folder by Word the next time it is run and exited.

    Thank you for your help. I very much appreciate your continued efforts.

    Friday, September 26, 2014 12:50 PM
  • By permissions I simply meant Full Read/Write to the folder where the Normal template resides.

    What is the path to that folder? Is it the User's AppData path?

    Is the path mapped to a network drive or is it simply a local drive path?

    Did you look in the Startup folder and the following path for any macro driven templates that maybe running? C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Templates\1033

    Are there any additional AutoCorrect actions specified? Here is what a default setup looks like, is there any difference on your machine?

    Have you tried copying the Normal template from a machine where you are not having this issue and pasting it onto this problem system?


    Kind Regards, Rich ... http://greatcirclelearning.com

    Friday, September 26, 2014 1:36 PM
  • Yes, I have read/write permission on the template folder.

    The path to the template folder is C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

    It's a local path.

    I didn't find any templates with macros in that folder but I renamed the folder nonetheless. With no effect.

    "enable additional actions in the right-click menu" is disabled.

    Yes, I also tried copying a normal.dotm from a machine where the issue does not occur.

    Friday, September 26, 2014 1:58 PM
  • Now I'm really grabbing at straws? :-)

    1. Try creating a different user id on this machine and see if works. That should tell you if it is a Registry problem with the user profile or Word itself.
    2. Assuming #1 doesn't help try running a Repair on Office and restarting the system.

    Kind Regards, Rich ... http://greatcirclelearning.com

    Friday, September 26, 2014 2:30 PM
  • I already tried both those steps :(

    It's ok. We gave this back to our customer since the issue seems unrelated to our software (it also happens when our software is not involved). They will probably do a fresh install of Windows.

    Thank you very much for your help, Rich.

    Monday, September 29, 2014 5:57 AM