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?