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Article ID: 173547 - Last Review: January 9, 2007 - Revision: 2.4

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SYMPTOMS

Under the following circumstances, an error message appears when you attempt to open a Word document.

Case 1: The Document Is Protected with Multiple Passwords

The document is not opened. If you are using Word 6.x or Word 7.x, the following error message appears:
Word cannot open the document: <path>\<filename>
This problem occurs when the following conditions are true:
  • The Temp directory variable points to a drive with more than 2 gigabytes (GB) of free disk space available.

    -and-
  • The document is protected with two passwords (an Open password and a Modify password).NOTE: In Word 6.x and Word 7.x, this problem occurs if you use a Protection Password and/or a Write Reservation Password.
After you correctly type the first password (called the Open password) for access to the file, a second dialog box appears with the options (1) enter an open password or alternatively, (2) access the file read-only by clicking the Read-only button.

After you click Read-only (without entering a modify password), the document fails to open.

Case 2: You Attempt to Open a Document That Is in Use by Another Person

When you try to open a document that is in use by another user, you are given the option to open a read-only copy of the document, and you receive the following message:
<path>\<document.doc> is in use by <username>. Do you want to make a copy?
where <path>\<document.doc> is the location and name of the document, and <username> is the name of the person who has the document open.

After you click OK, the following error message appears:
Word cannot open the document. Try one or more of the following:
- On the File Menu, click open to open the document.
- Make sure the document has a .doc extension.
After you click OK, the document fails to open.

Case 3: You Try to Open a Document Saved with Read-only Recommended

When you try to open a document that was saved with Read-only recommended, the following error message appears:
Word cannot open the document. Try one or more of the following:
- On the File Menu, click open to open the document.
- Make sure the document has a .doc extension.
After you click OK, the document fails to open.

CAUSE

A variable limit was reached. Therefore, current disk free space appeared to be less than the amount required for creating an associated Temp file.

RESOLUTION

If you are using Microsoft Word version 7.0a for Windows 95, an updated Winword.exe file that resolves this problem is available from Microsoft Technical Support. There have been several releases of this patch. Make sure you obtain the latest version.

WORKAROUND

To temporarily work around this problem, use any of the following methods.

Method 1: Reset the TEMP environment variable

Set the TEMP environment variable to point to a FAT (file allocation table) or NTFS (NTFS file system) drive that contains less than 2 GB of free space. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Close all open programs.
  2. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  3. Double-click the System icon, click the Advanced tab, and then click Environment.

    NOTE: On Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, double-click the System icon, and then click the Environment tab.
  4. In the User Variable box, select the TEMP variable.
  5. In the Value box, type the path to the new location--a drive that contains less than 2 GB of free space.
  6. Restart your computer.

Method 2: Create a Swap File to Reduce the Amount of Perceived Disk Space

On the drive on which the Temp directory is located, create a swap file large enough to create the impression of less free disk space (less than 2 GB).

Method 3: Use NTFS (Case 1 only)

Use NTFS to set the permissions of the file. Give the document read-only permission at the NTFS file level, rather than protecting it with a password in Word.

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

MORE INFORMATION

For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
189439  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/189439/EN-US/ ) WD97: Word Fails to Open "Cannot Open the Existing Square Symbol"

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Word 6.0 Standard Edition, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • the operating system: Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Word 95 Standard Edition, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • the operating system: Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Word 95a, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • the operating system: Microsoft Windows 2000
Keywords: 
kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbbug kberrmsg kbfaq kbfix KB173547
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