Consider the following scenario: You replace an existing file server with a new one. During the testing phase, both the new server and the old server are online. Everything works great. During the operational phase, you take the old server offline. Suddenly, users complain that Word hangs on their client computers when they open some--but not all--documents from shared network locations or from their local drives. What happened?
 
Every Word document has an attached template. If that template is missing, Windows XP will try to locate the missing template multiple times. If the missing template was located on the old file server that has been taken offline, Windows XP won't be able to find the template. The process of locating a missing template may cause a Word document to take longer than expected to open. Word will appear to hang. If you wait long enough, however, the document will open eventually. It will take longer to open the document when you are connected to the network compared to when you are disconnected from the network.
 
If Word appears to hang because a document is taking a long time to open, you can view the attached template for the affected document using the following steps.
 
Word 2007
1) Be sure the affected document has been copied to the client computer. Disconnect the client computer from the network. Open the document.
2) Click the Office button and click Word Options to open the Word Options dialog.
3) In the Add-Ins options choose Templates in the Manage list and click Go. The Templates and Add-ins dialog is displayed.
4) The path and file name to the attached template is displayed in the Document template field.
 
Word 2003 and earlier versions
1) Be sure the affected document has been copied to the client computer. Disconnect the client computer from the network. Open the document.
2) From the Tools menu choose Templates and Add-Ins. The Templates and Add-ins dialog is displayed.
3) The path and file name to the attached template is displayed in the Document template field.
 
The value in the Document template field might look something like "\\old_server_name\old_path\template_name.dot".
 
NOTE: If the attached template is Normal.dotm (for Word 2007) or Normal.dot (for Word 2003 and earlier versions)--and the template is located in the default location in the user profile on the client computer--the field will simply display "Normal". If this is the case, then something else is wrong; it's not an attached template issue.
 
What can you do?
 
You could bring the old file server with the old template files back online so that the Windows XP client computers can find them. This is usually not an option and it would require you to maintain an old file server into the future.
 
Fortunately, Microsoft Knowledge Base article 830561 “Documents that have attached templates take a long time to open in Word 2002 and in Word 2003” at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;830561 includes information about workarounds that you can use.
 
In my experience, the favorite workaround in KB 830561 among IT professionals appears to be “Method 2: Use a custom Visual Basic Application to change the attached template to the global template (Normal) when a new document is opened.”  This is because changing the attached template to be the Normal template will prevent the problem from happening again in the future. However, you need to ask the affected users first how they are using Word, because you might be permanently breaking an important relationship between the document and its attached template.
 
If the "Automatically update document styles" option is selected in the Templates and Add-ins dialog for an affected document, this means that the user who authored the document expects to be able to change styles in the attached template and then have those modifications affect the styles in the document when the document is opened.
 
No matter which workaround you choose to use from Knowledge Base article 830561, be sure that the affected documents are being programmatically opened on a computer that has been disconnected from the network to make the process complete more quickly.

If you don’t want to use a custom Visual Basic program to resolve the attached templates issue, you can leverage Word's attached template discovery logic to attach a new template to an affected document. You can do this by copying the existing template files from the old file server (or the new file server, for that matter) to specific locations on the client computer. Alternatively, you can create new template files using the same names as the missing templates and then copy those new template files to specific locations on the client computer. Word will attach the appropriately named template file to an affected document when the document is opened. Once again, be sure that the affected document has been copied to the client computer and disconnect the client computer from the network in order to speed things up.
 
Word will look for the missing templates in the following locations on the client computer in the following order.

Office 2003 on Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\STARTUP\
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\

Office 2007 on Windows XP
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates\
C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\STARTUP\
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12

 

Author for the Post: - Ryan Christiansen