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We have a partner which is sending us documents with references to a template on their own LAN, and thus cannot be loaded when we receive them. When we receive them, it can take over a minute for the file to load due to the 'missing' .dot file. Unfortunately, they are refusing to remove the reference, or move the .dot file reference to the c: drive, which would fail much quicker. As far as I know, since the reference is on a server which does not exist, Windows must be doing some exhaustive search for that server and it's taking a long time.

Aside from changing the local host file, which would be a messy hack, is there any other way to speed up the failure, in Word or Windows?

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What version of Word? – CharlieRB Jan 26 '12 at 14:06

You can use a command line or shortcut to start Word without add-ins or templates. Here is a reference to the Microsoft Support article.

For example, if you want to start Word and prevent the loading of add-ins and global templates, type the following in the Open box, including the quotation marks: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe" /a

This should help you avoid the template issue.

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I stumbled accross this when we had also this problem with external Word-Documents which referenced Templates from foreign Servers.

I finally found a registry setting for Word, which controls a timeout for loading remote templates:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options]
"UseTimeoutForAttachedTemplateLoad"=dword:00000001
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Great tip. Helped me out - thanks – Thomas Vochten Oct 20 '15 at 17:06

Do the documents have any pictures in them ?, if it is just text you could just ask them to send it in an RTF instead, as I don't think this stores that sort of info in it.

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