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Old 13th August 2005   #1
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Question

WordPad (in XP) not opening Old .doc files


This problem with Win XP refusing to open WodPad documents (.doc files)
created on oearlier Windows OS HAS been written up on these forums a few times;
Here is one (locked ) thread I found:

Win Word 6.0 to Rich Text format

"Newt" replied with >>>
I really think you will be better off using the 'fix' from
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/870883

Yes, it does involve adding a piece to the registry but the how-to is given in great detail and the likelyhood of messing anything else up on your PC is vanishingly small.

As a precaution, before you start to add the registry piece but after you've opened regedit, click on file, click on export, and send a complete backup of your registry to a .reg file and save that file. Then if something bad should happen, you'll have a good backup of your working registry.


Now my QUESTION is:

HOW?? does this "Registry Fix" accomplish *solving* the problem??

The previous threads seem to hint that with "the Fix" the XP version of WordPad will be able to "open" and view the old .doc files ~
but can they be EDITED and/or have new content added??

And when the .doc file is closed - can it be "saved" with any edits and/or new content?
Does it save as the old xyz.DOC or does
it get a new.RTF file extension??

Ten *smacks* with an old Floppy to MS for this change & problem!

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Old 13th August 2005   #2
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Open Office 1.14 (www.openoffice.org) should open all those files just fine. The program is free.

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Old 13th August 2005   #3
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What actually happens when you try to open one of these files?

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Old 13th August 2005   #4
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Phred--How does it fix the problem? Have no clue, but it works. Must have something to do with the magic words "EnableLegacyConverters".
But, I am not able to edit the old .doc files once I open them with Word Viewer. (I do not have Word, so do not know if Word would function differently. I suspect it might since I think the Viewer is indeed just that.) Of course, even if Word did not permit editing, I would think you could copy and paste the old .doc files into a new Word window, edit away and save as whatever you wanted to.
As Steve R Jones says, what actually happens when you try it?
P.S. Yes, it is a nuisance, but it was kind of MS to provide the way to still open the old .doc files. They did, however, not give much publicity to the fix and the title of the MSKB article is misleading with the reference to Quicken.

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Old 13th August 2005   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve R Jones
What actually happens when you try to open one of these files?
From: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/870883
SYMPTOMS
Your computer is running Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, or Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
You may receive an error message that is similar to the following:
"Cannot load Word for Windows 6.0 files"

This problem occurs when you try to open an older "xyz.DOC" file.
The desired file NEVER opens or even appears.

CAUSE
This problem occurs because WordPad's Rich Text Format (RTF) converters are disabled in Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, and Windows Server 2003 SP1. Therefore, .doc and .wri files that require an RTF converter cannot be opened by using WordPad.

Programs that are affected by the changes in Rich Text Format ...
Rich Text Format (RTF) is a text document format (.rtf) that is sometimes used instead of Plain Text format (.txt) or Microsoft Word format (.doc). Windows XP SP2 disables the RTF converters that were installed with versions of Windows XP that are earlier than Windows XP SP2. If you do not have an RTF converter from an installed program, documents that require this converter will not open.

-------------------------------------
Ray H:
"Open Office 1.14 (www.openoffice.org) should open all those files just fine. The program is free."

and from another thread:
"The "Word Viewer 2003" from Microsoft should allow you to open and read the file. This viewer allows you to open documents from all previous versions of Word along with some other common file types if you don't have Microsoft Office. You can download it HERE >>>
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=95E24C87-8732-48D5-8689-AB826E7B8FDF&displaylang=en
(It's *free*)

Overview
With Word Viewer 2003, you can view, print, and copy document contents to another program.
However, you cannot edit an open document, save a document, or create a new document.
This download is a replacement for Word 97 Viewer and all previous Word Viewer versions.

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Old 13th August 2005   #6
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Phred--So are you saying you solved the problem using the EnableLegacyConverter Registry fix? (And then opening in either Word Viewer or Word?)

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Old 13th August 2005   #7
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Originally Posted by Phred
but can they be EDITED and/or have new content added??

And when the .doc file is closed - can it be "saved" with any edits and/or new content?
Does it save as the old xyz.DOC or does
it get a new.RTF file extension??
Hello Phred,

Your questions can be answered by yourself

Take one of these files and back it up - to a new (temporary) folder and then go thru the mechanics of:

saving it with edits and/or new content?

saving the file and see if it saves as the old xyz.DOC or does
it get a new.RTF file extension??


Regards - Charles

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Old 14th August 2005   #8
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Originally Posted by Welshjim
But, I am not able to edit the old .doc files once I open them with Word Viewer. (I do not have Word, so do not know if Word would function differently. I suspect it might since I think the Viewer is indeed just that).
Jim - it would. The viewer is not made to do any editing.

If you also had Word installed you would have an option with a document opened in the Word Viewer to open it in word for editing.

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Old 28th August 2005   #9
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Report from the WordPad Wars ...




I really was hoping someone had already done the Registry Fix and would
report on the outcome ... but I guess it was a secret ... up till now!

I took a deep breath and did as instructed in:
Microsoft Knowledge Base # 870883 (Method #2)
and added the registry key in the WordPad section of the Registry.

I re-booted to be sure the change "took" ...
and went off looking for an "OLD" Windows 98SE ".DOC" file to open...

Therein lies to bigest problemo with the Registry Fix solution >>

IF you start WordPad and ask it to "OPEN" a file; after you point to a Folder
that you know contains an xyz.DOC file ...
You're NOT gonna see it till you change the lower window in the Look In box
from "Rich Text Format (*.rtf)" to the find-all phrase
of "All Documents (*.*)" ...
As soon as you look at "All Documents" you'll see the "old" xyz.DOC files
and can select one ...

WOW! Oh Happie Daze!!

Your "old reliable" xyz.DOC file pops up and Looks Great!


Once open, you can Edit away to your heart's desire, add stuff, change Fonts;
do most anything you'd like to.

SAVE IT??
No sweat using "Save As ..."
Your "old FileName" is offered, WITH the old "xyz.DOC" extension ...
*IGNORE* the lower box that says "Save as type: [Rich Text Format (.RTF)]" -
contrary to what it says, your file will BE SAVED as an xyz.DOC file
as long as your "File name" ENDS with "*.DOC"

Further testing and I discovered that you can create a NEW file -
which by defalt will begin life as an "*.rtf" file ...
BUT ~ If you CHANGE the default "Document.rti" FileName to a new
title - AND CHANGE the ".rtf" to ".DOC" ... you'll wind up with a "*.DOC" file
being saved - which "should" be viewable on an older Windows 98 computer
using the "old style WordPad".
Again - *IGNORE* that lower box in the "save" window that threatens to
"Save as type: [Rich Text Format (*.RTF)" ...
your NAMING the file as a .DOC file takes precedence and wins out!

The two Big Things to remember after "fixing" the Registery ...

1) You have to CHANGE the Look In box file tyype to "ALL files (*.*)" in order
to SEE your "*.doc" files ...

2) You have to CHANGE the file extension on any new files to "*.doc" if you want to save it as a "*.doc" file.

Enjoy!

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Old 28th August 2005   #10
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Read the entire microsoft article carefully and read it a couple of times.

Basically , they are saying that the RTF converters in Wordpad have been deliberately disabled as a security measure because they "may make your computer or your network more vulnerable to attack by malicious users or by malicious software such as viruses".

In other words, by using RTF format in say an email document, a virus could be be installed automatically and without your knowledge. You would see what appeared to be a wordpad document, but the hidden formatting component could contain a virus installer.

Thus it was deliberately disabled in a security update.
They provide this as a work around so you can open your old RTF documents, and resave them in a different format . However you should not leave this legacy converter enabled.

As noted an alternative is to use a third party word processor which is capable of opening them but does not share the vulnerability.

AbiWord is a free word processing program similar to Microsoft® Word. It is suitable for typing papers, letters, reports, memos, and so forth.

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Old 28th August 2005   #11
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"Big Brother" is watchin out for me ...


Originally Posted by oshwyn5
Read the entire microsoft article carefully and read it a couple of times.

In other words, by using RTF format in say an email document, a virus could be be installed automatically and without your knowledge. You would see what appeared to be a wordpad document, but the hidden formatting component could contain a virus installer.

Thus it was deliberately disabled in a security update.
Well ... ...
I did "try" to read the Microsoft gibberish ... (wish they could speak/write in PLAIN English!)

How is a '*.DOC' formated message any more or less vulnerable to an imbeded
virus than an '*.RTF' formatted message?

Do '*.RTF' messages pass through some hidden virus protection or detection process?
I think not.
Is Norton not capable of "checking" and detecting bad things in a '*.DOC' file?

I make it my policy to open NOTHING that I don't have a pretty good feeling is "safe" AND comes from a known source. Anyone who sends me an encoded item had better tell me (in plain text) exactly WHAT is in the document and WHERE it came from - or the whole package gets trashed!

Plain ole '*.DOC' formatted files (of the Windows 98 vintage) have been around for years;
and never seemed to be a big hazard before - why are they suddenly considered
a Big Risk now?

I appreciate Mr. Microsoft "lookin out" for me ...
But I really don't like him making it almost impossible for me to re-open the hundreds
of documents, memos, and tips that *I* have created and stored over the many years I used his Windows 98 product!

I wonder how long it will be till "someone" (read Mr. Microsoft) decides
that '*.RTF' formatted files "pose a risk" and are suddenly no longer supported by the next OS?

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Old 29th August 2005   #12
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Originally Posted by Phred
Well ... ...
How is a '*.DOC' formated message any more or less vulnerable to an imbeded
virus than an '*.RTF' formatted mess?
RTF is NOT subject to viruses, DOC is. (at least in the same way that doc is)
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/r/rich...ormat_RTF.html
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/d/document.html

In a nutshell, RTF is a file with inserted formatted plain text while a doc is a file with inserted plain text and also the capability of inserting other objects such as images & other comp code.

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Old 29th August 2005   #13
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I would put it this way.
Someone discovered the hole, someone discovered a way to exploit it. So microsoft patched it before it became widespread.
They did this by changing the RTF format. When it was shown that the legacy converter they left behind could be exploited, they disabled it by default.

The difference between RTF and DOC is that even in the early days, DOC format was exploited (macro viruses) and thus most antivirus programs are designed to automatically scan any and all .doc documents when they are accessed or opened.
Apparrantly, it was decided that it was easier for microsoft to release a patch which just disabled the legacy converter than to get all antivirus companies to agree to alter their programs to scan all RTF documents even though the new format was not vulnerable to the exploitation.

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