Use Safe Mode to Diagnose Microsoft Word Startup Issues

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If you’re experiencing problems when you start Microsoft Word, safe mode will help you narrow down the source of the problem. Because Word loads the registry data key, the Normal.dot template, and all other add-ins or templates in the Office startup folder before you even realize something is wrong, the source of your problem will not be immediately apparent or readily accessible. Safe mode gives you a different way to start Word that doesn't load these elements.

How to Start Microsoft Windows in Safe Mode

To find out if the problem lies with any of the aforementioned components, follow these steps to start Word in safe mode:

  1. Select Run from the Windows Start menu.
  2. Type
    winword.exe/a
    (you must insert the space before the
    /a
    . You also might need to type the entire file path or use the Browse button to locate the file.
  3. Click OK.

Finding the Problem

If Word starts properly, then the problem lies in the registry data key or something in the Office startup folder. Your first step should be to delete the data registry subkey; this is the cause of most startup problems in Word. For more help fixing registry data key problems, consult the Microsoft Word support page.

If Word does not start correctly in safe mode, or if you don’t want to get into editing your registry, it may be time to reinstall Word. Remember to back up your settings first!