Weirdness with Office 2013 opening Network Files

We had a client with document open problems. They can open up Word/Excel/PowerPoint from a document attached to an email by either clicking on it or saving to their desktop and then double clicking BUT if they double clicked on a network file it opens up a Blank Document dialogue (the standard Word/Excel dialogue when you just open up the program).

We tried repair of Office (both Quick and Full – and even re-licensed Office) without success. We tried resetting the the file associations – with no luck. We did a compare of local Word settings to the clients (luckily the same version) but still no luck.

What we then did on a computer that worked was the capture the actual command (via PROCMON) that gets used when we double click on a document to open it up:

"c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\WINWORD.EXE" /n "<<documentname>>"

So, we then did this on the client’s computer. In order to save a bit of typing we decided to take a local copy of the document to C:\temp\ so we had:

C:\Temp>"c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\WINWORD.EXE" /n "C:\Temp\Test Document.docx"

as the command to open up Word with that document.

Bizarrely it worked! So, we then decided to open up the document from the S: (shared) drive and that failed (well, it started up two copies of Word – one that died and then the second one that opened up the Word start up screen):

C:\Temp>"c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\WINWORD.EXE" /n "S:\Administration\Test Document.docx"

We then decided to see if opening it up using the full path worked – and it did:

C:\Temp>"c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\WINWORD.EXE" /n "\\SERVER\Shared\Test Document.docx"

So, we had “lucked in” and now had some more information to work with. This managed to get us via Google to the following article: Office docs from network drives won’t open, specifically:

Same problem here. Windows 2008R2, Office 2013 Standard after moving from Xen to VMWare virtualization. I just wanted to say that this problem is also affecting us, but as I was typing, our Admin called back.

He created a new account, which had never used Office 2013 before and that worked!

He then deleted then %APPDATA%\Local\Microsoft\Office folder from an account that didn’t work, after which Office claimed that the profile was corrupt, but then it started normally, regenerated the profile and he can now open the files.

It might be worth renaming this folder and seeing if that works for you.

So, we closed ALL Office programs and renamed the Office folder (we ran this as Administrator to ensure we could rename the file):

C:\Windows\system32>cd \users\TheUser\AppData\Local\Microsoft

C:\Users\TheUser\AppData\Local\Microsoft>ren Office Office.strange

C:\Users\TheUser\AppData\Local\Microsoft>

And then we tried that command again:

C:\Temp>"c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15\WINWORD.EXE" /n "U:\Administration\Test Document.docx"

And this time it worked!!!

Now, the client may have lost some settings/preferences – but at least he can now open up Word by double clicking.

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