WD97: Word Fails to Open "Cannot Open the Existing <Square Symbol>"

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Article ID: 189439 - View products that this article applies to.
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Case 1

When you attempt to start a second session of Microsoft Word 97 running on a Windows NT, version 4.0, the following error message may appear:
Word cannot open the existing <square symbol>
where <square symbol> is a symbol resembling an empty white box.

Case 2

When you attempt to open a password-protected document using the "read-only recommended" option, the document fails to open.


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


To correct this problem, obtain Microsoft Word 97 Service Release 2 (SR-2). To temporarily work around this problem, use either of the following methods.

Method 1: Create a Paging File to Reduce the Amount of Perceived Disk Space

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

Method 2: Use Only One Session of Word

Do not attempt to use two sessions of Word. Close the dialog box to the error message and activate the open session of Word.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in the Microsoft products listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was corrected in Microsoft Office 97 Service Release 2 (SR-2). For additional information about SR-2, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
151261 OFF97: How to Obtain and Install MS Office 97 SR-2


For additional information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
173547 WD: Document Fails to Open "Cannot Open The Existing <Square>"


Article ID: 189439 - Last Review: January 23, 2007 - Revision: 1.1
  • Microsoft Word 97 Standard Edition, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
kbbug kbfix kbqfe KB189439

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