I friend had the weirdest problem the other day. When opening a word (.doc) document in word 2003 on which she had been working for a few months, some pictures weren't showing. In stead, they were showing as white squares. When double clicking on the image, word shows an error like "Insufficient diskspace to view image" (It was a Dutch installment of Word so we don't know the exact English error).

There was more than 70 GB free on the disk and the word document was only 2MB in size. But why does word need any diskspace to view the image? Did anyone had this kind of problem before? Thanks!

  • what are your virtual memory settings? – Molly7244 Sep 8 '09 at 21:11
  • If you could post the exact error it might be easier to find what the issue is. I've done that for languages I didn't know before. – Joshua Nurczyk Sep 9 '09 at 13:00

I suspect the word file may be corrupt. Do you have a backup you can revert to, to see if that works OK?


MY first reaction would be to check and see if you had a lot of programs running. It may be referring to RAM space. That or you can check your group policy (run gpedit.msc) to see if you're restricted to however many GBs of usage.

  • Nope, checked the RAM space. just 400 MB of the 2 GB used. Running XP as administratrator so there should not be any problems with any policy. I think memory isn't the problem here. – zwanz0r Sep 8 '09 at 21:15

What if you systematically removed images, it's possible one of them is causing the issue. What file types are they and what is their source?


Images are normally encoded in some format such as jpeg that reduces the space that they take up on the disk.

However, when an image is displayed, it's then decoded into a memory bit map. I've seen cases where a corrupted image seemed to require gigabytes of memory, which is probably what happens here.

If you don't have a good backup of the document to go back to, make a copy now and continue working on this copy. First try to save the document in another format, such as rtf. If this solves the problem, you can return to doc format. If not, you'll need to start erasing parts of the document doing a binary search for the bad part. I would guess that the problem is an image, but a corrupted document may hold many surprises.

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