I recently reinstalled Windows 10, Avira Free Antivirus v., and Office Professional Plus 2010. Before the reinstallation, this combination of applications worked fine.

Now, when I try to open the VBA IDE from a new Word document, I get the following message:

Word has encountered a problem.

There is a problem saving the file.

with some possible causes listed underneath, such as missing disk space, low RAM, or missing permissions; none of which are relevant.

The only thing that might be relevant is:

This error can also occur if the computer is running a version of antivirus software that is incompatible with the Microsoft Office or must be updated.

As noted, I am running Avira Free Antivirus, and AFAICT the antivirus is updated. I tried opening the VBA IDE while Avira real-time protection was turned off, but without success.

Once I dismiss the message, the VBA IDE window opens, but there is no available project, and most of the menu items are disabled.

Saving a document with the .docm extension before opening the VBA IDE doesn't help.

There are comparable odd results when trying to open the VBA IDE from other applications:

  • Excel lists three projects Project1, Project2 and Project3, but without the usual tree of objects underneath each project -- class modules, standard modules etc -- and without the ThisWorkbook node.
  • PowerPoint does the same as Word -- no project at all -- but without any error.

I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling VBA via the Office installer.

Security settings are set to disable macros with a warning. IIRC the old behavior was to disable macros unless I explicitly allowed them for the specific document. Trust the object model for each application is checked.

I've looked for a setting to control this in Avira, with no success.

The registry doesn't contain the VBAOff key described here.

How can I enable VBA for the Office applications?

NB. The previous installation wasn't a clean install of Windows 10; it was first Windows 8, then 8.1, then 10.

Things I have tried before opening the VBA editor:

  • Repair Office
  • Uninstall and reinstall Office, then manually install Office 2010 SP2
  • Windows update (only found Office updates after the aforemnetioned manual installation)
  • Running Word with administrator permissions
  • Enable all macros selected from the Trust Center
  • Deleting the Normal.dotm template and allowing Word to recreate it
  • Uninstalling Office, running the "Clean Office uninstall" tool referenced by @harrymc in the comments, and reinstalling Office
  • Adding Outlook (which was previously not installed)
  • Turning off UAC (before starting Word)
  • Booting in Safe Mode -- I was unable to start Word; Word wasn't recognized as activated
  • Setting HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem LongPathsEnabled = 1, and rebooting

Looking at the Event Viewer, I didn't find anything in System, Application or Security (all under Windows Logs). The only thing I did find was the following event in Applications and Services Logs -> Microsoft Office Alerts every time I try to open the VBA editor in Word on a new document:

Log Name:      OAlerts
Source:        Microsoft Office 14 Alerts
Date:          07/03/2019 20:49:42
Event ID:      300
Task Category: None
Level:         Information
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Microsoft Word
Word has encountered a problem.
P1: 200815
P2: 14.0.7015.1000
P3: 5v59
P4: 0x80070002

Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
    <Provider Name="Microsoft Office 14 Alerts" />
    <EventID Qualifiers="0">300</EventID>
    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2019-03-07T18:49:42.772417400Z" />
    <Security />
    <Data>Microsoft Word</Data>
    <Data>Word has encountered a problem.</Data>

There is no similar event when opening the editor in Excel or PowerPoint.

Using Sysinternals ProcMon, capturing only while trying to open the VBA editor from Word, and filtering the results for Process Name = "WINWORD.EXE" and excluding SUCCESS, BUFFER OVERFLOW and NAME NOT FOUND from Result, I found the following:

RegOpenKey         ACCESS DENIED      
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\microsoft shared\VBA\VBA7\VBE7.DLL
      C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\microsoft shared\VBA\VBA6\VBE6EXT.OLB

The FILE LOCKED WITH READERS repeats a number of times.

But on further investigation, I see that later reads from the same registry key (HKLM\Software\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\VBA) succeed. Also, the CreateFileMapping is using the long name of the path; which is immediately followed by a successful CreateFileMapping using the DOS name, e.g. C:\PROGRA~2\COMMON~1\MICROS~1\VBA\VBA7\VBE7.DLL.

  • Try to replace the Normal template Normal.dotm found in folder C:\Users\user name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. If this doesn't help, uninstall Office again, run the clean uninstall Office tool and reinstall Office.
    – harrymc
    Mar 6, 2019 at 20:49
  • You don't indicate which version Avira Free Antivirus you are running. The fact your previous installation was not a "clean install" does not matter. There is no difference outside between an installation that was upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and a clean installation of Windows 10.
    – Ramhound
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:45
  • @Ramhound Edited. There is no difference outside between an installation that was upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 and a clean installation of Windows 10. Theoretically true, but perhaps there's some DLL that was installed while the computer was running Windows 8 that enabled this setup to worl; and is no longer necessary under Windows 10, and was therefore not installed this time around.
    – Zev Spitz
    Mar 7, 2019 at 5:36
  • Maybe disabling virus protection isn't enough. Can you try to uninstall Avira, restart pc and open Vba editor after? That could help to decide whether the problem is really related to antivirus. Mar 7, 2019 at 6:19
  • 1
    I have selectively installed Office before with never a problem, but everything is possible. You could try to install Office with all defaults to verify if this works (only redoing what you already did before is not going to change anything).
    – harrymc
    Mar 7, 2019 at 18:29

4 Answers 4


Verify or install the latest updates

You might have to set Windows Update to automatically download and install recommended updates. Installing any important, recommended, and optional updates can frequently correct problems by replacing out-of-date files and fixing vulnerabilities. To install the latest Microsoft Office updates, see Update Office and your computer with Microsoft Update.

For list of the latest Office updates, see Office Updates. If your issue is not resolved after you install the latest Windows and Office updates, go to method 2.

It's a good idea to make sure that your computer has the latest updates installed for Windows. Updates often fix software problems. Before you use any of the following methods, try first to install updates. After you install the updates, restart your computer, and then start Word.

Troubleshoot problems that occur when you start Word

Follow the steps in this section carefully. Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Before you modify it, back up the registry for restoration in case problems occur.

Here are troubleshooting methods you should try:

Method 1: Insert your document into another file
Method 2: Start Word by using the /a switch
Method 3: Delete the Word Data registry subkey
Method 4: Delete the Word Options registry key
Method 5: Replace the Normal.dot or Normal.dotm global template file
Method 6: Disable the Startup folder add-ins
Method 7: Delete the COM add-ins registry keys
Method 8: Change the default printer

Follow details in MSDN.


Since this strange problem arrives on more than one computer, even in fact on all your computers, this relates more to your installation than to a bug in Office.

The problem might be that your company is installing Windows Update patches selectively (MSUS), or an unfortunate choice of installation options, or some software product you have installed on all your computers (primary suspect is always the security software).

Some tests that you can make are booting in Safe Mode to disable all third-party software, or to use Process Explorer to check which process is locking VBE7.DLL and VBE6EXT.OLB.

Last test is to make a clean installation of Windows 10 and only of Office, using default installation settings, then running repeatedly Windows Update until it finds no more updates. You can do this in a virtual machine to simplify.

Whatever you will find, I believe that this problem relates to your installation methodology or software.

  • Ahem. This issue only arises on a single computer, the only computer I currently have running Windows and Office 2010.
    – Zev Spitz
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:02
  • Didn't you say something about other computers? In any case, my advice still applies.
    – harrymc
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:04
  • I see that Safe Mode Boot did not fix the problem, so it must be in relation to the way you install Office. Safe Mode only disables Windows-level products, so any plugins added to Office will still work and may cause problems.
    – harrymc
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:15
  • This is a clean install of Office; no addins. Also, I've added some details -- it seems that Word can't CreateFileMapping using the long paths, but it succeeds with the the DOS names.
    – Zev Spitz
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:20
  • Might the problem be simply the need for increased Maximum Path Length Limitation? In HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem REG_DWORD LongPathsEnabled.
    – harrymc
    Mar 13, 2019 at 11:23

Once a time, I encountered the same error while using both MS Office 2016 and MS Office 2003 on the same computer, I searched a lot and found one thing that was similar to not having enough permission to do so, even on the administrator account.

As you said, you are using Windows 10. Open task manager, and check Office Source Engine status, if it is stopped then run it, but if you can't run it and try Ccleaner and clean up the registry and restart the computer.

  • Office Source Engine was indeed stopped, but I can start it successfully. However, starting it doesn't help -- the VBA editor still won't open properly.
    – Zev Spitz
    Mar 13, 2019 at 13:30
  • Have you cleared registry errors, using any software of your choice? I did it with Ccleaner Mar 13, 2019 at 14:10
  • 2
    Registry cleaners are not generally recognized as being useful, and CCleaner has been reported to have user-hostile behavior (e.g., spying on you, installing updates automatically without your consent, refusing to exit when you want it to). Mar 13, 2019 at 16:32

Verify Permissions and File Access

Since the error suggests that a file cannot be created/written to/read, I would start by using procmon by Sysinternals to reveal any read/write errors or access denied errors by the office application. It’s possible that a folder in the required path is missing, or that file permissions are not set as expected.

This may also reveal whether certain registry keys are missing or have incorrect permissions.

Ensure UAC is Not Blocking Startup

You should try running the application after turning off UAC temporarily if you haven’t already. UAC could be prevent other processes from spawning despite running the original app as Administrator.

Check Event Logs for Warnings and Errors

Check the System, Application and Security event logs for errors and warnings around the time of your attempts. If they are present and repeat at each attempt to start VBA, add them to your question as further evidence.

Start in a Fresh Environment

Create a new user account with local Administrator rights. Log on with the new account and try starting the VBA editor. This provides a ‘clean’ environment based on the local default user profile, which helps determine if user profile corruption is the cause.

  • You should addApplications and Services Logs > Microsoft Officeto the event logs Mar 9, 2019 at 1:38
  • @ComputerVersteher I wasn't aware of this additional location, it's not present on my machine. I do have Microsoft Office Alerts but AFAIK this only logs the messages that were displayed to the user. Do you have a reference for this? Mar 9, 2019 at 1:48
  • I guess they are the same, On Win10 x64 Office 2007 I have Microsoft Office Diagnostics/ SessionsunderApplications and Services Logs and there you can find usefull information (e.g ms-access query error msgs), I wasn't aware of that Mar 9, 2019 at 1:53
  • Nothing in System, Application, and Security; and Applications and Services Logs > Microsoft Office shows an event for opening VBA from Word, but for no other application. Edited into the question.
    – Zev Spitz
    Mar 12, 2019 at 22:54
  • I've updated the question with results from procmon.
    – Zev Spitz
    Mar 12, 2019 at 23:31

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