Word Document Keeps Freezing | How to Fix This

Abby | Oct 20,2021 8 min read

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Disable COM Add-ins Press Windows + R keys and type: winword.exe /a and hit Enter to open MS Word without plugins...Full steps
Fix 2. Repair Office installation Manually repair Office installation with programs and features or use a third-party word repair tool...Full steps
Fix 3. Repair corrupted template  Close Word > go to Start > Run > Type %appdata%\microsoft\templates > Enter...Full steps
Fix 4. Run Word in Safe Mode Press Windows + R keys, type: word /safe, and hit Enter. Check if you can open the Word application...Full steps
Fix 5. Reinstall MS Office Open Control Panel, click "Program and Features", then select Microsoft Office. Click "Uninstall"...Full steps

Microsoft Word Keeps Freezing, Not Responding

"I am using Windows 10 with the latest updates installed for both OS and office suite. My Microsoft 2016 works well all the time. However, when I used Word 2016, it kept freezing and crashing! 

I opened my coursework in Word 2016. After 10 minutes' working, the Word file froze, saying "not responding". Is there anybody that can help me get out of this situation?"

Before you start dealing with the Word document freezing problem, you'd better learn what has lead to the freezing problem. Here are possible causes:

  • Damage to MS Office settings or installation - the main cause of Word application crash/freezing while opening DOC file in Word
  • Presence of third-party add-ins in Word program - a common cause that may results in freezing of Word on startup
  • Software conflicts in the Windows while editing any document in Word tool can affect the application and makes it unresponsive or freeze
  • Malware intrusion incorrect installation of Word program, the presence of bad sectors in the location where Word program and documents are saved, abnormal termination of Word, etc can all bring on freezing of MS Word documents

Knowing the exact causes of why the Word document keeps freezing will effectively help to find the right solution and make Word work again. Check the provided methods below to bring your Microsoft Word back to life immediately:

Part 1. Fix the Frozen Microsoft Word Document (5 Fixes)

This part includes 5 verified solutions that are able to assist you in fixing frozen Word:

Method 1. Disable COM Add-ins in Microsoft Office

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys and type: winword.exe /a and hit Enter to open MS Word without plugins.

Disable Word add-ins.

Step 2. Click "File" > "Options" > "Add-Ins".

Locate add-ins.

Step 3. Click "Manage" and select COM Add-ins, click "Go" to uncheck the problematic ones and click "OK" to confirm.

Uncheck add-ins to disable them and make word work.

After this, restart Word to check if the issue has been resolved.

Method 2. Repair Office Installation

To repair the frozen Word, you have two options to repair the Office installation: 1. Manually repair Office; 2. Use a third-party Office repair tool.

Select either option to repair your MS Office and make the Word application to work again.

Option 1. Manually Repair Office Installation with Programs and Features

Step 1. Open Control Panel, click "Programs and Features", locate and select your Microsoft Office.

Step 2. Click "Change" in the top menu.

Locate Office in programs and features.

Step 3. Click "Repair" and then "Continue" on the pop-up window.

Repair Office installation.

For Newer versions of Microsoft Office users, choose "Online Repair" or "Quick Repair" and click "Repair".

Repair not working Word.

Step 4. Wait for the repair process to finish and restart your computer. 

Fix Office not working issue.

After this, restart Word application to see if you can create or edit a document file.

Option 2. Use A Thrid-Party Word Repair Tool

To instead of the manual method, you can also search the Word repair or Office repair tool online.

You'll find multiple types of repairing tools available to provide Office repairing service, making Word application work again.

Method 3. Repair or Replace the Corrupted Normal.dot Global Template File

# 1. Repair Corrupted Template 

Close Word -> Go to Start -> Run -> Type %appdata%\microsoft\templates -> Enter -> browse for Normal.dotm file and rename it as oldNormal.dotm and reload Word.

# 2. Replace Normal.dot Global Template File

Step 1. Press Windows + X and select "Command Prompt (Admin)".

Sign in if the program requires administrator permission.

Step 2. Enter the command below and hit Enter:

ren %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\OldNormal.dotm Normal.dotm

Step 3.Wait for the command to finish and exit Command Prompt.

Method 4. Run Office Word in Safe Mode

Step 1. Press Windows + R keys, and type: word /safe. Hit Enter to launch Microsoft Office into Safe Mode.

Step 2.Check if you can open the Word application or create a new file in Word.

If yes, the problem got resolved. If not, continue with the following steps.

Step 3. Open Word, go to "File" and select "Options".

Step 4. Click "Advanced", scroll down to Show Document Content, and select "Show picture placeholders". Click "OK" to save the changes.

Run Office in safe mode.

After this, restart MS Office. Check if you can run Word and edit files again.

Method 5. Uninstall and Reinstall MS Office

Note: Make sure that your activation key can be used twice before taking the below steps. Find your serial key and save it in a text document.

Step 1. Open Control Panel, click "Program and Features", then locate and select Microsoft Office.

Step 2.  Click "Uninstall" in the top menu.

Uninstall Office.

Step 3. Re-install Microsoft Office on your PC and activate it with your serial key.

If your old key fails to activate the newly installed MS Office, please contact the Microsoft support team for help.

Part 2. Recover Lost or Saved Word Document 

If your freezing Word document gets lost after you have tried the 5 solutions above, you can try data recovery software or use its AutoRecover feature in Microsoft Office to restore your lost files with simple clicks.

# 1. Restore Lost Word with File Recovery Software

Applies to: Recover disappeared or lost files (saved on local PC) due to frozen Word application or other errors.

First, Download and install reliable file recovery software, such as  EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, on your PC. 

Next, go through the next 3-step tutorial to bring lost Word documents back:

Step 1. Select a location and start scanning

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, hover on the location where you lost data, then click "Scan".

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Preview and select the files

Wait until the scanning completes. You can use Filter or search bar to find lost files.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover lost data

Then choose a location to save the recovered data, and click "OK". You should store the data in another place instead of the original one.

Recover lost data

# 2. Recover Unsaved Word File

Microsoft Office contains an AutoRecover feature which will automatically save the temporary file of an editing document to a local folder on your computer.

Only if you have enabled the Auto-Save option, you can effectively retrieve the Word file which got closed without saving.

Bonus Tips to Backup and Protect Word File

If you are looking for a direct solution to fix the Word freezing issue, you can stop here. You've finished all the tasks.

If you prefer a comprehensive plan to protect important and valuable Word documents, it's smart of you to follow below tips and create a full backup plan for MS Office Word:

# 1. Set Automatic Backup Plan for Saved Word and Other Files

Applies to: Back up saved Word file on your local drive.

Reliable file backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup can help you effectively back up important Word files on a local drive with ease.

By setting an automatic backup plan to an external USB or a local drive, all your saved Word, Excel, PowerPoint, images, videos, emails, etc., will be fully protected. 

# 2. Enable Auto-Save Feature to Protect Editing Word Documents

Applies to: Autosave the editing Word document.

Step 1. Open MS Word application and create a new file, click "File" > "Option".

Step 2. Click "Save" and check the below two boxes:

  • "Save AutoRecover information every * munites" (set a time for autosave - every 2 or 5 minutes will be good)
  • "Keep the last autosaved version if I close without saving"

Enable Auto-Save feature to backup editing Word file.

Step 3. Click "OK" to confirm.

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