How to open DOC/X files in older version of Word

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  1. Posts : 37
    Windows 10
       #1

    How to change file association of DOC files to Word 2003


    Hello

    For the past few years, my Windows opened a DOC/DOCX/RTF file in Word 2003 instead of e.g. Word 2016 (when I double-clicked a DOC/DOCX/RTF file). Every 2-3 weeks Windows would change the file association of DOC/DOCX/RTF files to Word 2016, but when I run Word 2003 manually (or use Detect and Repair), the file associations would change to Word 2003 again.

    Today, however, this no longer works. When I run Word 2003, it runs fine (and appears to work fine) but I get an error message "Microsoft Office Word 11.0 - An error occurred and this feature is no longer functioning properly. Please run Setup and select "Repair..." to restore this application.".

    The same applied to Excel 2003 until now. Now, Excel 2003 still works, but gives an error message when I run it, "Microsoft Excel - One of your object libraries (stdole32.tlb) is missing or damaged. Please run Setup to install it." and it actually runs the installer each time I start Excel, but the installer simply exits when the progress bar gets halfway.

    Repairing (and reinstalling) Office 2003 doesn't progress past about the halfway mark and then the repair/reinstall dialog mysteriously exits. Also, when I try to use Detect and Repair in Word, Malwarebytes tells me there's malware in the TEMP folder (but disabling Malwarebytes doesn't make the repair process work). I also tried disabling the Office Source Engine service. Please note, this has nothing to do with the "Compatibility Pack" -- reinstalling it doesn't affect the file associations.

    There is a registry hack for disabling the error message, but what I really want is for DOC/DOCX/RTF files to open in Word 2003 by default.

    This brings me to ask a question that I have had for over a decade: how to convince Windows that I want to open DOC/DOCX/RTF files in Word 2003 when I double-click it.

    (By the way, I recall having a similar problem with Adobe Acrobat Reader many years ago -- I had both version 5 and version 6 installed, and try as I might I was unable to get Windows to use version 5 for PDF files, and I always had to run version 5 manually and open files using drag-an-drop (as I'm now forced to do with DOC/DOCX/RTF files).)

    Do you know what causes this error message (and how to fix it)? or
    Do you know of surefire way to make DOC/DOCX/RTF files open in Word 2003 by default?

    Thanks
    Samuel


    (Using Windows 10 Home)
    How to open DOC/X files in older version of Word Attached Files
    Last edited by ugcheleuce; 05 May 2020 at 01:51.
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  2. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 11,253
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #2

    For the 'new' format of .docx, .xlsx and others that changed with Office 2007 there was a Compatibility Pack to be used on Office 2000 through Office 2003. It may still be available on the 'net, didn't see it on Microsoft last time I looked. If wanting something different from Office and free I install LibreOffice.
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  3. Sven1458's Avatar
    Posts : 301
    windows 10
       #3

    I have the compatibility pack, if you like i can upload it to night. Not at home now.
    Sven
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  4. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 11,253
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #4

    I checked again for the Pack and Microsoft has it, got a spare copy. Must have been a bad day for their Server. I don't recall the SP1 part on the one I got last time [couple three years ago].
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/down...n.aspx?id=1285
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  5. Callender's Avatar
    Posts : 4,408
    21H1 64 Bit Home
       #5

    I used this recently:

    Microsoft Compatibility Pack
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  6. Posts : 37
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Thanks, Calender, Berton, and Sven1458, but you misunderstood my question. I erred on the side of brevity with the subject line, but it looks like I was *too* brief.

    I want Word 2003 to be the default program for opening DOC, DOCX and RTF files. Do you know how to accomplish that (without uninstalling Word 2016)?
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  7. Try3's Avatar
    Posts : 8,661
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 21H1 Build 19043.1110
       #7

    Right-click on each extension [doc, docx, rtf] you want to set,
    1 Select Open with,
    2 Select Choose another app,
    3 Set the checkbox for Always use this app ...,
    4 Click on More apps,
    5 Scroll down to the bottom of the list,
    6 Click on Look for another app on this PC,
    7 Browse to your chosen executable
    - [For 64 bit Windows - mine would be C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WinWord.exe but I think you need Office11 instead of Office12 - or maybe it's Office10, just find the lowest number within C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office that contains a WinWord.exe file],
    - [For 32 bit Windows - mine would be C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\WinWord.exe but I think you need Office11 instead of Office12 - or maybe it's Office10, just find the lowest number within C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office that contains a WinWord.exe file],
    8 Click on Open,
    9 The file opens in the chosen application but the key point is that this application has now been set as the one to use,

    So you can now test the setting by closing the file then double-clicking on it or another of the same type and you will open Word.

    Denis
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 37
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Try3 said:
    Right-click on each extension [doc, docx, rtf] you want to set,
    [followed by instructions on how to change the default app]
    I'm afraid this doesn't work. Microsoft Office (and e.g. Adobe Acrobat) seems to be in a special class of programs that somehow convince Windows to always use the latest installed version, even if you specifically select the older version's EXE file when trying to change the file associations. If I follow your instructions, the file should open in Word 2003 directly afterwards, right? But it doesn't. It opens in Word 2016, and the file association is still Word 2016. I also had this problem on previous computers (Windows 7, Word 2003 & Word 2009). I was very happy that I was able to have Word 2003 as the default program in Windows 10 until now, but since yesterday that ship seems to have sailed.

    (In the mean time, I managed to create shortcuts for Word and Excel 2003, so that I can open files by dragging and dropping them onto the shortcuts.)
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  9. Caledon Ken's Avatar
    Posts : 25,122
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Version 21H1
       #9

    Can I ask why you want to use 2003 when you have 2016?

    Just to satisfy my curiosity.
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  10. Posts : 37
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Caledon Ken said:
    Can I ask why you want to use 2003 when you have 2016? Just to satisfy my curiosity.
    I'm simply used to it. I'm an expert user of Word 2003, and I'm a complete newbie at any of the ribbon-based versions of Word. Plus, I use a couple of third-party macros that have better UIs in Word 2003 than in Word 2016 (partly due to the fact that Word 2016 doesn't have toolbars). Also: custom toolbars (there is a "custom tab" in Word 2016 but it's functionality is a far cry from what Word 2003 offers). Oh, and tracked changes look different. And Word 2016 is slow to scroll... there's a lag between what I do with the mouse and what Word does (in Word 2003, scrolling is instant). 99% of DOCX files work just fine in Word 2003 (the odd ones out are those with lots of graphics in them). And Word 2003 has a focus-sensitive window title bar (Word 2016's window title bar is always blue, even if it's not the active window, so it's a bit of a pain if you have multiple files open to know where the focus is).
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