What is WinWord.exe?
Now that we've established that WINWORD.EXE is not a rogue application, it's important to understand the causes of WINWORD.EXE errors. The most common WINWORD.EXE error appears as the following: "Winword has caused an error in winword.exe. Winword will now close." This error is typically caused by a corrupted normal template, which is the template Word uses to show you a blank document when the program is first run.
The resolution to this troublesome error is actually quite simple. Search your hard drive for "*.dot" by choosing "Start", then "Search". Make sure you're using the Search Companion. Select "All files and folders", and enter "*.dot" (without the quotes) in the "All or part of the file name:" field. Under "More advanced options", ensure that "Search hidden files and folders" is checked before pressing "Search". This search will reveal all Microsoft Word templates stored on your hard drive. Find any templates named "Normal.dot" (or anything similar), and delete them. If you have WinFax installed, you should also delete any WinFax templates (typically named Wfword2k.dot, or something similar). Be aware that this may destroy certain settings in Microsoft Word if you've customized the software. Now, reboot your computer and restart Word. The problem should now be resolved. You can view the original Microsoft article that addresses this problem at Microsoft's Knowledge Base.
WINWORD.EXE and memory leaks
WINWORD.EXE may also have a problem known as a "memory leak". This is when the program encounters a silent error - that is, an error that it doesn't tell you about - and begins to use more and more memory and system resources. If your computer has slowed to a crawl while you're using Microsoft Word, chances are Microsoft Word has encountered a memory leak. You can check by pressing "Ctrl" + "Alt" + "Delete", and inspecting the "Processes" tab. Organize the list by "Image Name", and search for "WINWORD.EXE". If WINWORD.EXE is using a disproportionate amount of your computer's memory and processing power, save your work and restart your computer. Next, visit Microsoft Office Update and ensure your copy of Microsoft Office is completely up to date.
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