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I am using Outlook 2002 (Office XP Update) with Word 97 and Excel 97. (The reason is that Microsoft refused to activate my legit copy of office 2003 when I got a new motherboard, Word XP crashed too much, and I prefer the newer Outlook. I would rather not send Microsoft more money to upgrade since they refuse to activate what I've already purchased. Please don't recommend an upgrade.)

Now, I can tell Windows Explorer to use Word 97 to open, for example, a .txt file. But whenever I try to open the text file from Explorer, it either (a) started the Windows XP installer, or (b) tells me that the .txt file is an invalid Win32 application.

Is there some way to straighten out the registry without reinstalling Windows XP? Excel 97 and Outlook 2002 are working fine.

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What is the default handler for text files? (You can see that for folder options -> file types. OR right click on a txt file, select 'Open with', select Notepad (C:\Windows\notepad.exe) )

Make sure that it is set correctly. Also if you want Word to open it, you will need to change the association to Word.

If launching Word is an issue, make sure that you installed Word 97/Excel 97 & then Outlook 2002.

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Notepad works properly when I set it as the handler, and I have changed the association to word in Windows Explorer. I have tried installing Outlook before and after installing Word -- no change. – xpda Feb 12 '10 at 17:08
How have you set the association to Word? Via Folder Options or via right click 'Open With' option? I would say use the right click 'Open With option'. – Ganesh R. Feb 13 '10 at 5:02
Open With does the same thing -- tells me that the .txt file is an invalid Win32 application. – xpda Feb 14 '10 at 5:05

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