You receive a "Word was unable to read this document. It may be corrupt" error message when you open a document in Word 2003

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Article ID: 889409 - View products that this article applies to.
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SYMPTOMS

When you try to use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to open a corrupted document, the document does not open, and you receive the following error message:
Word was unable to read this document. It may be corrupt.
Try one or more of the following:
* Open and Repair the file.
* Open the file with the Text Recovery converter.
(C:\Documents and Settings\...\test.doc)

WORKAROUND

This workaround is included in a hotfix that is now contained in a service pack. If you installed the latest Office 2003 service pack, you do not have to install the hotfix.

Service pack information

This workaround is available in Office 2003 Service Pack 2. To use the workaround, obtain the latest service pack for Office 2003.

For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
870924 How to obtain the latest service pack for Office 2003
After you install the service pack, follow the steps that are listed in the "More Information" section of the article to set the BulletProofOnCorruption registry key and to enable the hotfix.

Hotfix information

How to obtain the hotfix

This workaround is included in the Word 2003 post-Service Pack 1 hotfix package that is dated December 14, 2004. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
890932 Description of the Word 2003 post-Service Pack 1 hotfix package: December 14, 2004
After you install the hotfix, follow the steps that are listed in the "More Information" section to set the BulletProofOnCorruption registry key and to enable the hotfix.

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

This problem was first corrected in Office 2003 Service Pack 2.

MORE INFORMATION

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows


To enable this hotfix, follow these steps:
  1. Quit Word 2003.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  3. Locate and then click to select the following registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options
  4. After you select the key that is specified in step 3, point to New on the Edit menu, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type BulletProofOnCorruption, and then press ENTER.
  6. Right-click BulletProofOnCorruption, and then click Modify.
  7. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
  8. On the File menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor.

Properties

Article ID: 889409 - Last Review: April 18, 2008 - Revision: 5.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office Word 2003
Keywords: 
kbqfe kboffice2003sp2fix kbopenfile kberrmsg kboffice2003presp2fix kbbug kbfix KB889409

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