This article describes what the /a switch is, what it does, and how to use it.
The /a SwitchThe /a switch is a troubleshooting tool that you can use to determine where a problem may exist when you are working with Microsoft Word.
When you use the /a switch to start Word, the switch prevents add-ins and global templates, including the Normal.dot template, from being loaded automatically.
The /a switch also locks the setting files.The setting files cannot be read or modified when you use this switch.
Note We do not recommend that you use the /a switch as a typical operating startup switch. This switch prevents your preferred settings in Word from being retained. Use the /a switch only when you must troubleshoot Word to determine where a problem may exist.
How the /a Switch Starts WordNote The default installation paths that are mentioned in the following list are the default locations and may be different on your system. The /a switch starts Word, bypassing or locking the following:
- The global template (Normal.dot) that is located in the following folder: C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
- Templates and files that are located in the following startup folder: C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup
- Files that were added as global templates or add-ins. These files can be located when you click Tools, and then
Templates and Add-ins in Word.
- Component Object Model (COM) add-ins. A COM add-in is a supplemental program that extends the capabilities of Word by adding custom commands and specialized features.
- The Word Data key in the Microsoft Windows Registry at the following location: Word 2003
- The Word Options key in the Windows Registry at the following location: Word 2003
- Your currently selected Microsoft Office Assistant, whose settings are located at the following Windows Registry location: Word 2003
How to Use the /a SwitchTo start Word by using the /a switch, follow these steps:
- Locate Winword.exe.
Note By default this program is in the following location depending on your version of Word:Word 2003
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11Word 2002
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10Word 2000
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office
- Click Start, and then click
- In the Open box, type the path for Winword.exe as you found it in step 1.
- Enclose the path in quotation marks that are similar to the following: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe"
- In the Open box, move the insertion point to after the quotation marks at the end of the path statement.
- Type a space, and then type
The path statement now looks similar to the following:"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe" /a
- Click OK.
Cannot find the file 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe /a' (or one of its components). Make sure the path and file name are correct and that all required libraries are available.-or-
Windows cannot find 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\Winword.exe /a'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again. To search for a file, click the Start button, and then click Search.
Article ID: 826857 - Last Review: Apr 25, 2008 - Revision: 1