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Sometimes when I close Word documents winword.exe still runs in background (but there's no document open) and when I then want to open a word file nothing happens. I first have to open Task Manager, stop the winword.exe process and then I can open another document.

I'm working on Windows 7 Professional 64 bit (Service Pack 1) with Office Word 2010 Home & Student.

Until now I couldn't figure out any pattern after which actions it happens. I already reinstalled Word with no difference. The Office Suite is up to date.

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Are the documents you're working with (or your user profile) located somewhere else on a network? –  techie007 Feb 2 '13 at 20:16
    
Oh yes, the documents are on another PC running on Windows XP with a shared partition. I don't know exactly which user profile you mean? –  Purr Feb 2 '13 at 20:25
    
Sometimes in a corporate network the My Documents (etc.) in the (your) user profile are redirected to a server, and sometimes Word likes to use this as its temporary space. –  techie007 Feb 2 '13 at 20:44
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2 Answers

Disable plugins attached to your Office installation, like antivirus, PDF writers or toolbars.

Try to open Word and while double clicking in the icon push and hold down the Ctrl key until is done loading. This loads in diagnosis mode and no plugings are loaded.

From: Enable or disable add-ins in Office programs - Support - Office.com

Word

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button , click Word Options, and then click Add-Ins.
  2. In the Add-ins box, identify the add-in that you want to enable or disable and note the Add-in type located in the Type column.
  3. Select the Add-in type in the Manage box and then click Go.
  4. Select or clear the check box for the Add-in that you want enable or disable and then click OK.

Note Add-ins of type Document Inspector are enabled using a different method. These add-ins are automatically enabled when you inspect the document for hidden metadata or personal information. To inspect your document, click the Microsoft Office Button , click Prepare, and then click Inspect Document.

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I would expect that if you just ignored it for a little bit, it would eventually close on it's own.

Having files being read and written over the network can cause delay.

With network idle time-outs and such, if you're working on a document for while then it may take Word a while to close up, as it may need to wake up network connections to ensure all of it's (remote) resources are cleaned up properly before ending the process.

Additional plug-ins like anti-virus and such, as Jaun Carlos pointed out, can exacerbate this.

The same things happen with local files and resources as well, it's just that introducing a network brings a large amount of noticeable overhead and therefore takes longer to finalize things.

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