You receive a "Word was unable to read this document" error message when you try to open a document from an HTTP or FTP location if the document was created in a version of Word that is earlier than Word 2003

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Article ID: 903739
Important This article contains information about how to modify the registry. Make sure to back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows registry
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SYMPTOMS

Consider the following scenario. You try to open a document from an HTTP or FTP location. If the document was created in a version of Microsoft Word that is earlier than Microsoft Office Word 2003, the document does not open. Additionally, 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.
(path\filename)

CAUSE

This problem may occur when the following conditions are true:
  • The Word document is damaged or corrupted and requires the Open and Repair feature in Word 2003 to successfully open the document.

    For more information about the Open and Repair feature in Word 2003, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    893672 How to open documents by using the Open and Repair feature in Word 2002 and Word 2003
  • You try to open the document by using one of the following methods:
    • In an HTML document in a Web browser, you click a hyperlink that is linked to the Word document.
    • In Word 2003, you click Open on the File menu.

RESOLUTION

This problem was first fixed 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 problem is corrected in Office 2003 Service Pack 3. To resolve this problem, 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 "How to enable the hotfix" section of the article to set the
BulletProofOnCorruption
registry key and to activate the hotfix.

Hotfix information

How to obtain the hotfix

This issue is fixed in the Word 2003 post-Service Pack 2 Hotfix Package that is dated November 10, 2005. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
898777 Description of the Word 2003 post-Service Pack 2 hotfix package: November 10, 2005

How to enable the hotfix

Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.

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.

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 3.

Properties

Article ID: 903739 - Last Review: October 9, 2011 - Revision: 5.0
Keywords: 
kbregistry kboffice2003sp3fix kbopenfile kboffice2003presp3fix kbqfe kbbug kbfix KB903739

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