Word 2007 mystery crash resolved

Last week, I was baffled when Word 2007 began crashing each time I closed the program. This was happening on a secondary system running Windows Vista Business, so I made a mental note to look into it more closely when I had a chance.

Today, I ran across a new Knowledge Base article, 940791, which described a set of symptoms that were a perfect match for mine:

You install an automatic update for Microsoft Office Word 2007 on a Windows Vista-based computer. Additionally, the computer must be restarted after the automatic update is installed. However, if Word 2007 is running when you restart the computer, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • The mouse does not work when you use Word 2007.
  • You cannot open a Word document from the Search window in Windows Vista.
  • You cannot open a Word document from Windows Desktop Search.
  • Word crashes when you try to start or to exit Word.

The article doesn’t say which update is to blame, but my money is on either 939159 or 933360, both of which were released on August 29 and rated Important. A quick look at the Windows Update history pane shows that those two updates were applied to my system on August 29, and Event Viewer’s Microsoft Office Sessions log confirms that was the date the Word crashes began. Word 2007 had indeed been running last week when those updates were applied. I remember because I noted that the unsaved document I had been working on had been automatically saved and was automatically reopened after the system restarted.

The fix is fairly simple, As explained in the original article, just delete the following Registry subkey:


Mystery solved.

70 thoughts on “Word 2007 mystery crash resolved

  1. Hi Ed

    Thank you for your most informative posts.

    You’re an expert. You can deal with those things. Me, I am a simple Joe and work from home without any IT support. Last Sunday I was working on a file when my screen got all blue and I got STOP/A(0000×23409 IRQL-Not_Less or_ equal!

    Ed, what do you want me to do with that? Microsoft is not reasonable with things like that! Are they serious? Is their system aimed only at techies? I am now looking for alternatives.

    Thanks, Ed

  2. Claude, that sounds like a driver issue — that particular error message is almost always due to a low-level driver like video.

  3. Thanks for this tip. I think it may have been an Office update that caused the issue though when I installed MathType, I started getting the problems as well. I uninstalled MathType but it would still crash. Deleting that registry key fixes the issue so thanks again.

  4. dear ed

    I can only reiterate Paul’s comment! many many thanks, the Word 2007 crash problem started for me at the same time, after I had downloaded the updates, and persisted even when I uninstalled MathType;

    i followed your instructions and it is now working fine again


  5. I have had the exact problems you describe — constant crashing, mouse not working, etc. Googled all the symptoms and found your article.

    Is it possible that you could describe how to delete the registry subkey so that a less high-tech person such as myself could find it?


  6. Thanks for posting this! I have had the problem with Word crashing on exit, and also it stopped opening files double clicked on in Explorer, and attempts to open downloaded doc files from Firefox as well. Hadn’t had a chance to look at a fix yet. This fixed it.

    For you less technical folks, click Start, type in regedit and hit Enter. Click Continue on the User Account Control box (you need to be an administrator to dot his). Be VERY careful what you’re doing, one wrong move and you could destroy your Windows install. Under HKEY_CURRENT_USER, browse to Software, Microsoft, Office, 12.0, Word. There you will see the Data key (which looks like a folder in Windows Explorer). Highlight the Data “folder”, and hit the Delete key. Close Registry Editor, and you should be set! Worked great for me.

    Thanks Ed!

  7. Unfortunately, no joy for me!

    Still crashes every time I close it. And it’s not limited only to Word, but also Powerpoint 2007.

  8. Even stranger : I use Word 2007, am able to use the mouse either in the doc itself or the Word options button for example; I switch to another program like Windows Media Player for example, switch back to Word 2007 and my mouse doesn’t work anymore !!!
    Any idea of a solution to this issue ?
    Many thanks

  9. I just tried your solution and it appears to have worked. I have not tried it extensively, but apparently You are a HERO.

  10. Drae Edd, Word 2007 freeses up every time i open it. I have removed the updates as suggested but it is still freezing on the screen and I have to go to deck to switcher to open other files.
    Microsoft just dont care and you are the only person who seems to worry about their reputation. Please advise if you can.

  11. Question: I have Vista and Office 2007. From the beginning Word locks up when I close it having opened the document as an attachment to an Outlook email. It goes thru the automated fix it cycle, comes up with no solution, shuts Word down and then reopens it for me. At first it only seemed to happen if Word was an attachment; now it seems to happen if I open a doc by directly clicking on it from Explorer instead of opening from within Word. It is time consuming to wait for it to cycle and is getting annoying. Do you have any ideas?

  12. Beverley, you should contact Microsoft support. They can help you sort out the issues better than anyone can in this comments thread, which is not set up to offer tech support.

  13. Thanks. Been dealling with this for 2 weeks. Uninstalled Office 2007 – reinstalled … no help….uninstalled and installed 2003 word worked but had other issues…..uninstalled 2003 reinstalled 2007 same issue…
    applied this fix and BAM! all is well.
    Thanks again!

  14. That the solution worked for me too! My hat is off to you! Thank you! I’ve spent way to many hours trying to figure this out! Cheers!

  15. WOW U ROCK that totally fixed my issue of having the crash after hitting the X button as well. I made the mistake of installing SP1 for office and let windows update corrupt my word 07

  16. Deleting the data key did not work for me. However, my search led me to another thread that went further to suggest disabling the COM Add-ins one by one to see if one of them was the culprit.

    It wound up being the “Send to Bluetooth” Add-in. I no longer have to pull out my hair when trying to exit Word 2007.

  17. Thanks very much. Encountered the same problem and the fix worked perfectly.

  18. Thanx a bunch!

    I tried just about everything to fix this annoying bug and was at wits end until i ran across this article…

    It worked like a charm….thanx again!

  19. Wow. Thank you so much. I was in the process of uninstalling Office 2007 altogether when I finally found your post. Luckily i was able to rollback the uninstall-in-progress. Knowing windows, the uninstall wouldn’t have cleared the reg key anyway, so again. thanks a lot.

  20. Yep, that solved one of the Windows annoyances. I’ll have to search this site to try to find out how to keep Vista from changing the folder views after I set them. Thanks!

  21. Thankyou very much for this 🙂 works perfectly.

    Previous to reading this post I even uninstalled and the reinstalled the whole office suite, and the problem still remained.

  22. I have tried all the mentioned fixes to keep Word 2007 from locking up when being closed – and nothing worked. I tried several registry key changes, uninstalled Adobe Reader and Flash as well as managed Add-Ins.

    I found another suggestion which was to make any printer other than an HP printer as the default printer and low and behold – it worked.

  23. when the data key is deleted, it re-creates its-self. i even deleted the data key from the 11.0 folder since i upgraded word 07 from word 03.

    i will try the hp fix also and see how that works.

  24. WOW this really worked! i also tried install and reinstalling.. i was desperate to get it to work and nearly resorted to reformating my PC because i needed to do assignments! Great tip. really awesome stuff!!

  25. You saved my life!!

    For me, it started when I somehow got an image merged into the Image title… then tried to cross-reference to it (same document on Word 2000, when I inserted the x-ref, it would insert the image as well). Downloaded updates, and it got worse. Didn’t get the mouse or open-from-search problems, but couldn’t save or open or close. Worse, I always got the “recovered documents” window; word crashed on closing this.

    Uninstalled and installed.
    Naively asked Microsoft for help.

    You saved my life!

    (I have MathType as well)

  26. Thank you! Thank you! I’ve been making due without Word since it is unusable without the mouse functionality. I was about to uninstall and reinstall when I googled the problem and found your information. Regedit and deleting the specified key worked! SO easy.

  27. Amoung all our clients, only one experienced this issue of regarding MS Word and the mouse. By the way , all the machines with the problem are XP Pro – no Vista on site. We found that an Add-In by the client was the problem. We accessed Outlook in safe mode (Outlook.exe /safe) and then went to Tools, Options, Other, Advanced Options, Add-in Manger and un-checked the LaserFiche add-in and the problem went away. The client is a Federal Credit Union and uses LaserFiche software, the rest of our client base does not.

  28. Thanks for helping me fix this. The crash dialog was totally useless in helping me fix this. It told me to run office diagnostics that showed nothing wrong. It suggested that I download updates which I already did. How long will it be before M$ fixes this!

  29. You are my savior!! I have a doc I have to get to a client today and Word has stopped working on all my machines. It would only let me see the first page of a document and would crash on exit.

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you


  30. to CHRIS BUECHLER (#8)… THANK YOU SO MUCH. I have been struggling with WORD since late August and didn’t have the time to research solution … your step-by-step regedit fix cured my WORD woes.

    Thanks Again,

  31. Does this fix work for powerpoint too… if I delete HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Powerpoint\Data registry subkey?

    I am a fix novice… please let me know!

    The Word fix worked great, thanks for that!

  32. I honestly don’t know, Julie. But I don’t think it will hurt for you to try. Office rebuilds this key if necessary. You can ensure that no damage occurs by creating a system restore point first. If anything goes wrong, just restore to the snapshot you created.

  33. I was extremely close to rebuilding the Windows profile for the user who was experiencing this issue, though in XP. Refusing to give up, I found your solution and it worked magnificently!

    Thanks so much for the extremely valuable information. Praises be upon you, mang!

  34. The regedit fix works, but eventually the error comes back. I think this may happen once a new document is started and saved. Is there anything we can do besides deleting this “data” folder everytime the error starts again?

  35. I was working on my dissertation today when this error hit me…. I almost started to cry. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR PROVIDING A SOLUTION!!!

  36. I was updrading all sorts of programs on two of my Citrix servers this weekend… when I was done, one had this type of error on Word close, the other didn’t.

    Since /safe and /a worked, I thought it was one of my programs that installed an add-in, but even disabled, the error kept haunting me.

    Found this article (after much toil with uninstalls and reinstalls) and it took care of it just like that.

    Thanks to you, I might actually be able to enjoy the rest of this weekend…

    Thanks again,

  37. Thanks so much Ed!!! It has been a painful 2 weeks trying to figure this out! And thanks to Chris for explaining how to get to the registry! What a disguised simple fix!! Thank you!!

  38. Thank you so much, this was giving me such a headache, again thanks for the quick fix, everything works perfectly now.

  39. Good god – you’re awesome! This just occured to my vista ultimate machine w/ word 2007. Exported the key (just in case), then deleted the key and restarted word – voila – mystery problem solved (office diagnostics were no help…).

    Mine occured after the 11/13/08 updated and auto restart with Word running…

  40. Thanks! Ive been dealing with issue for a few months and always said I would look into so today I did,this was the first post I found and it worked like a charm!

    Thank You!

  41. I had a similar problem – crash on exit, as long as I had saved a document. If I didn’t save, it didn’t crash – but what good is that? I tried the registry fix, to no avail. However, this morning Vista finally turned up a solution for me. The problem, apparently, was caused by “a known issue with your HP printer.” Which begs the question why the hell don’t they fix this KNOWN ISSUE? To resolve this I had to set a different printer as default (one of the virtual ones) and now I have to select the my HP from the menu whenever I actually want to print anything! What gives, eh?

  42. I had the same problem as MindStrider, and my problem also resolved after changing the default printer. How weird.

  43. Hello Ed,
    Just had this problem hit over trhe weekend. Apparantly it has nothing to do with the specific patch, but is a poroduct of MS update process itself. Interesting that MS knows about it, posts a fix, but doesn’t address the problem directly. Even MSO diagnostic program doesn’t find it.

  44. Just another huge THANK YOU! Even after running Microsuck’s diagnostic utility twice and using the repair feature from the install disc…this is what worked. You’re awesome!

  45. This issue as been fixed by a “Windows Update” for HP Printer series (April 2009). The Data key in the registry never worked for me. What did work was NOT setting my HP printer as default. When I saw the windows update I was curious. I set my HP Printer as the default after applying the update and none of the Office applications have crashed after a number of times with different documents and restarts in between (for some other Windows updates)
    Finally this is fixed!!! This issue has been a pain for over a year

  46. As I read the other posts…I’m amazed the renaming of the Data key worked for a lot of people, because it never worked for me and my problem appears identical to the one everyone else is having. Somewhere I saw a post about HP Printers and not setting it as default. Once I set something else as default the problem went away permanently and consistently…about a week later the Windows Update came out for HP Printer Series.

  47. Actually it was Mindstrider’s post that clued me in to the HP Printer issue…that is no longer necessary..See “Windows Updates”!!!

  48. Thank YOU!!!!!!!!!!! – wesome post that fixed this annoying issue. all is right again in my world hehehee

  49. This problem cropped up in the last week (post a windows update) -Deleting the registry key worked perfectly.


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