I have a Microsoft Word document that I wrote 14 years ago (in 2006), it is text-only.
I do not remember which version of Microsoft Word I was using to write it, but the OS was Windows XP (in a different language that my current PC), and the file extension is ".doc".
I changed computers several times since then, but always kept that file in some HDDs.

Now I want to read this document again.
I plugged my external HDD to my current computer (Windows 10) ; and Explorer tells me that the file type is "Microsoft Word 97 - 2003 Document".
On my PC I have the "Word App" installed (not sure which version that means ; it is installed in "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office16\WINWORD.EXE").

When I try to open my .doc file with this version of Word, I get this message box:

enter image description here

I tried several encodings but the text preview was always garbled.
I remember that 10 years ago (in 2010) my laptop crashed, I brought it to a shop that salvaged its disk, I think this file was one of the retrieved data.

Is there any way I can read the contents of my document again?

  • Very unlikely...
    – DavidPostill
    May 31, 2020 at 10:44
  • Did you try with some older version like MS word 2007?
    – Sanu_012
    May 31, 2020 at 11:46
  • Did you try with some older version like MS word 2007?
    – Sanu_012
    May 31, 2020 at 11:46
  • I think Windows is just assuming Microsoft format based on the .doc extension. AFAICR Word would normally recognise a Word format document regardless of the extension, which would suggest that it isn’t a Word doc. Could it be a doc created by something else such as WordPerfect (which also used .doc)? Judging by the null, out and pop I wondered if it might be some kind of binary Postscript, perhaps change the extension to .eps and see if you can insert it into Word.
    – user1079414
    May 31, 2020 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


I would search for an old word viewer program that dates from 2010 or so. Microsoft distributed these free so they shouldn't be too hard to find.

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