Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Archive for November, 2010

Deleting the Word "Data" Key–What Does It Mean, Anyway?

Posted by William Diaz on November 19, 2010


The term corruption gets thrown around way too-often without actually knowing what it means or how it happens. If you troubleshoot Word often, all of us at one time or another have had to delete the Word Data key from the Windows Registry in an attempt to correct some problem. But what are you actually doing when you delete this key? To get an idea, visit the Word MVP site and read this: http://word.mvps.org/faqs/customization/DataKeySettings.htm

You should also familiarize yourself with the following Microsoft KB Article that covers the Word data key and a few other keys: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921541

If you bother to look at the registry values you will see they are unreadable,but if you open the Settings REG_BINARY and scroll down you will see readable text, which contains, among other things, data to Word .dot files.

When we say that the Word data key is or may be "corrupt" this could mean that information here is referencing non-existent/moved data or problem add-ins, like templates. In fact, to demonstrate what a corrupted Word data key can do, I opened both REG_BINARY types and edited the data by typing gibberish into them. When done, I opened Word and produced the following:

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Just When You Thought You Had A Virus

Posted by William Diaz on November 15, 2010


When troubleshooting an issue some time ago, I inadvertently came across a number of exe files residing on a user’s system. I stumbled across them while looking at the Windows Event Viewer and thought the name sounded suspicious:

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Posted by William Diaz on November 14, 2010


The complaint: Excel would hang while opening. When it finally did come to life, it would keep getting hung doing almost any task. Often, these issues are troubleshot in a predictable manner: Repair Office, Uninstall Office, Reinstall Office, and, finally, take a shotgun to the user’s Windows profile and blow it away. Personally, I frown on these approaches; they only serve to make the user start from scratch while doing nothing in revealing the problem. Another downside to this approach is you may be dealing with something impacting several users/workstations, each being handled independently of an identical issue by the tech in the next cubicle. And, being that the problem was related to the user profile, specifically in HKCU, it is likely each one would have resulted in a Windows Profile recreation. If you have had to recreate a profile, these can be timely since not all setting’s in today’s large enterprise environments are copied into the roaming profile (think folder exemptions, for example). Read the rest of this entry »

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