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This article answers some of the more frequently asked questions concerning
Word macro viruses.
- Q. What are Word macro viruses?
A. Macro viruses are computer viruses that use an application's own
macro programming language to distribute themselves. These macros
have the potential to inflict damage to the document or to other
computer software. These macro viruses can infect Word files, as
well as any other application that uses a programming language.
Unlike previous viruses, macro viruses do not infect programs; they
infect documents and templates. Opening a document or template that
contains a macro virus will infect your system and the virus will
spread to other documents and templates you may have on your system.
Some macro viruses are not harmful, but they can be annoying.
However, there are some macro viruses that can be very destructive.
Also, Word macro viruses can be spread across platforms; for
example, the macro virus can infect files on the Windows platform,
as well as files on the Macintosh platform.
- Q. How can I determine whether I have a Word macro virus?
A. It is not always easy to determine whether you have a macro virus.
If you are familiar with the Word macros you have on your system,
you can look through the various macros for ones that you do not
recognize. It is possible that one, or more, of them are part of a
macro virus that has infected your system. Some examples of these
type of macro names are: AAAZAO, AAAZFS, AutoOpen, FileSaveAs, and
Some other things to look for are:
- Unexplainable behavior on your system; for example, you may be
prompted for a password on a file that you know does not contain a password or your document may be unexpectedly saved as a
- Unusual error messages, for example:
This one's for you, Bosco.
Just to prove another point.
And finally I would like to say: STOP ALL FRENCH NUCLEAR TESTING IN THE PACIFIC!
- Unusual changes to your documents; for example, the macro virus
may randomly move three words then insert the word "WAZZU" at
- Q. How did I get the macro virus?
A. You worked with a file that was infected with a Word macro virus. An
infected file can be obtained any of the following sources
You may want to obtain a current macro virus detection program to
prevent obtaining future macro viruses and to get rid of your
existing macro viruses.
- Q. If I have a Word macro virus on my system, can I accidentally
spread the macro virus to others?
A. Yes. You can spread a virus if you share files with others. A macro
virus embeds itself into your file and can, most commonly, spread to
others if you share files from a disk, network drive, external drive
media, or any of a number of other file transfer methods. Files
exchanged over the Internet can also spread the macro virus to
- Q. Can I get software that will prevent me from getting a Word macro
virus in the future?
A. Microsoft Technical Support recommends that you use a third-party
company that provides Word macro virus detection and protection.
There are many companies that provide this service.For additional information companies that provide Word macro virus protection, click the article number below
to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
List of Antivirus Software Vendors
- Q. Are there other ways that I can get a Word macro virus off my
A. Yes, there are some temporary workarounds that you can use to clean
a macro virus off your system. These methods will not prevent the
future infection of your system. Please refer to the following
Microsoft Knowledge Base article:
WD97: What to Do If You Have a Macro Virus
- Q. I have Word and it always prompts me about the file I am opening
containing macros. I don't share files or disks with others, I don't
even download files from the Internet. Can I prevent Word from
prompting me all the time with this warning?
A. Yes, you can disable the macro virus warning, although Microsoft
does not recommend it. To disable the macro virus warning:
This macro virus warning will not appear anymore.
- On the Tools menu, click Options
- Click the General tab.
- Click to clear the "Macro virus protection" check box.
- Click OK.
- Q. Word provides the macro virus warning when I open files that may
contain macros, except when I open files from my templates folder.
Why the difference?
A. Word assumes that you know which files you have saved to your
templates folder. It also assumes that you know these files are
safe. With this assumption, Word does not provide the macro virus
warning when it detects macros contained in files from your template
folders. The template folders that Word uses are defined by the User
Templates and Workgroup Templates settings as specified in the File
Locations tab in the Options dialog box.
- Q. Are there macro viruses that affect other Microsoft Office
A. Yes. For more information on macro viruses for the other Microsoft
- For Microsoft Excel, please refer to the following Microsoft
Knowledge Base articles:
XL: Q&A about Excel Macro/Laroux Macro Virus
XL: How to Identify and Remove PLDT/CAR/SGV Macro Viruses
- For Microsoft Access, please see the Microsoft Access Assistance
Article ID: 163932 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
- Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition
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