Error message when you open a document file in Windows XP Service Pack 2

Important This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry


When you try to open a document file, such as a .doc or .wri file, in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), you may receive the following error message:
Cannot load Word for Windows 6.0 files
A document may open with WordPad and may have extraneous or garbage characters at the beginning and at the end of the file.


Rich Text Format (RTF) converters are disabled in Windows XP SP2.


Warning If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

To enable RTF converters in Windows XP SP2, you must modify the registry. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then press ENTER.
  2. Locate and then click one of the following registry subkeys:
  3. Click Edit, click New, click DWORD Value, type
    EnableLegacyConverters, and then press ENTER.
  4. Right-click EnableLegacyConverters, click
    Modify, and then change the Value data to
  5. Click OK, and then quit Registry Editor.


This behavior is by design.

More Information

The following programs have been reported to be affected by this problem. This list may not include all affected programs.

High School Advantage 2003
The Lion King Animated Story Book v.1
Visual C++ 2.0 16 bit
Tonka Search and Rescue v1 Software
Quicken 2003 Premier Home and Business v.12.0
Starcraft Expansion Set: Brood War 1.04
PhotoShop Elements 2.0
FreeHand 8 v.8.0
PageMaker 6.5
PageMaker 7.0
FileMaker Pro v.5.0
Quicken 2004
Smartsuite Millennium Edition - ScreenCam 9.5 (German)
Encyclopedia Britannica Ready Reference 2003
Command & Conquer Red Alert 2, 1.0
Command & Conquer Red Alert 2
Adventure Workshop 1st-3rd - Storybook Weaver (English)
Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree Animated Storybook
Print Shop Deluxe v. 2.0 (16-bit)
Adventure Workshop Preschool - Reader Rabbit Thinking Adventures Ages 4-6 (English)
Turbo Tax Deluxe v98
WordPerfect Family Pack 5 - Encyclopedia Britannica Ready Reference 2003

For information about your hardware manufacturer, visit the following Web site:The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.


Article ID: 883090 - Last Review: Feb 15, 2017 - Revision: 3