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winword.exe - what's the deal ?

Last response: in Windows XP
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March 13, 2007 1:04:52 PM

I've just noticed this appearing several times in Processes....



In fact, the other day there must have been around 25 entries.

It seems to use not an insubstantial amount of RAM as well.

I've done multi malware searches but nothing comes up.

Should I be worried ?

cheers

swayzak

More about : winword exe deal

March 14, 2007 1:28:18 PM

Winword.exe is Office Word.

It can be opened if you're using Outlook or Microsoft Office Word.

You can disable it within Outlook if you want but I'd recommend using it just for the features of Word and writing/reading emails.
March 14, 2007 2:12:58 PM

Thanks

But why multiple entries in Processes (just a single instance of Outlook open) - each using around 12 MB !

I smelt a virus or other malware (Googling shows some references to winword.exe related naughties).

Did the usual Ad-aware / Spybot clean. Also several virus scans - these showed nothing.

Appears to have stopped doing it now - so maybe it was one of the spywares ?

swayzak
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March 14, 2007 2:38:19 PM

Every time you open word you get a new "instance" which is what you're seeing.

I don't believe the newer version of Office does this.. you might be on Office XP?

Outlook opens its own version. Word will open its own version for each document opened.

Though, sometimes it doesn't always close down. End-task or Kill each one and see what you lose. When you open Outlook it'll re-open the instance it needs.

Also, typing "winword" in the Run command will start Word for you.

I think the new version of Office opens one version and all instances stay in that.. but I'm not sure offhand. I'd have to check.
March 15, 2007 9:14:58 AM

Quote:

I think the new version of Office opens one version and all instances stay in that.. but I'm not sure offhand. I'd have to check.


You are right there. No need to check.
March 15, 2007 10:30:37 AM

thanks again

I'm using Office 2003 SP2

And as I'm typing this, there a 3 instances of winword.exe running (plus outlook.exe).

Only Outlook is actually running.

Seem alot better than the 10 or so instances I had running at one point before - but still a bit worrying....?

swayzak
March 15, 2007 1:11:28 PM

Winword will load when you open Office.

If you have any emails open or preview pane, that may also cause more instances to open.

Try end-tasking them and see what you lose. Or open a few emails up and see how many instances start up.

Make sure you're fully patched. It could be an issue that each instance isn't closing down when you close it down. I've seen that happen before but I think that was on 2000, not 2003.
March 17, 2007 4:01:35 AM

Download this::Process Explorer
Once downloaded, go to the download folder and extract,, than Execute procexp.exe, ,than go and view the process in task manager with more detailed view. Most satisfying thing is knowing what is using what.
March 23, 2007 2:38:47 PM

Oh God - today I opened the Processes window & there were at least 20 instances of winword.exe, with available RAM down to 70 MB (on 512 PC) :x

Just Office 2003 open, with no emails open.

Close all instances & claimed back all the memory.

This MUST be malware - only none of the scans I've done have made any difference (McAffee, Ad-aware, Spybot S&D...)

I'm really pissed off now because I don't want to do a reinstall...
March 23, 2007 3:04:31 PM

I'm thinking you've got a mass-emailing worm. I know at one time with Office, you could use MS Word as your email editor... if that's the case, then it would explain why you've got so many instances of winword.exe... one instance for every email being sent from your computer.
March 23, 2007 3:15:24 PM

Try replacing Mcafee with NOD32 or Avast! and c what happens.
March 23, 2007 4:05:28 PM

Quote:
Try replacing Mcafee with NOD32 or Avast! and c what happens.


Thanks - but this is a network work PC so no option there.
March 23, 2007 4:09:46 PM

Quote:
I'm thinking you've got a mass-emailing worm. I know at one time with Office, you could use MS Word as your email editor... if that's the case, then it would explain why you've got so many instances of winword.exe... one instance for every email being sent from your computer.


thanks

Haven't picked up a worm on scanning yet (although I'm currently running MS OneCare scan as a last resort).

I do receive & send quite a few emails and open Xcel files throughout the day - maybe it's something to with that ?

But surely Office 2003 shouldn't leave an instance of winword.exe open for every email transaction / Excel file I open (taking upto 12MB of ram) ?
March 26, 2007 1:28:22 PM




Arrgghhhh....


And here's the (predictable) result of manually ending all those winwords:




:x
March 26, 2007 3:35:56 PM

Office is updated with all service packs and other updates?
March 30, 2007 3:03:50 PM

www.safer-networking.org

Download Spybot Search and Destroy.

Update it. Immunize, check for problems.

It might not be a virus but spyware doing it.
April 2, 2007 11:49:42 AM

Quote:
www.safer-networking.org

Download Spybot Search and Destroy.

Update it. Immunize, check for problems.

It might not be a virus but spyware doing it.


Have done this (and Ad-Aware search) and, touch wood, there have been no instances of winword.exe today :) 

Bit puzzled because I normally use these everyday anyway :?


swayzak
April 3, 2007 7:58:50 PM

Go into C:\Doc and settings\your username\somethingsomething\templates


Do a search for "Normal.dot" - It will be a Word document. It should be under a templates folder.

Close all instances of Word.

Delete Normal.dot

Test it out.

That should resolve your issue. The .dot is a template, it holds what your basic view of Word looks like. You can create, file - save as - document template, normal.dot in the location if you want to make another.
April 20, 2007 10:27:27 AM

Just a quick update for anyone who's interested.

Problem solved.

We have software at work that "under the bonnet" is rather clunky & has a DOS-like interface.

The company that wrote this created a better GUI for the users.

There was a badly written .exe file for this gui, which left many instances of winword.exe open, hoovering up system memory.

An updated version solved this (and now my PC seems about 10x faster).


thanks again for the advice


swayzak
April 20, 2007 6:39:31 PM

Good to hear... Any chance you can say what the program at work is? That is, if its a main stream program that would likely show up elsewhere?
April 20, 2007 7:17:50 PM

Quote:
Good to hear... Any chance you can say what the program at work is? That is, if its a main stream program that would likely show up elsewhere?


Not really - although it's healthcare pathology software so not exactly mainstream !
September 15, 2008 11:28:43 PM

I am having what appears to be the same issue (20-30 instances of winword.exe opening spontaneously in the task manager, hogging memory). I really need to know what software you found to be causing the issue if possible. I work at a company, which writes software for our imaging flow cytometer, and I am wondering whether something we bundle into our software is causing this issue on my machine or if it is something else I have downloaded in the past. No reports of this behavior have come up from anyone else in our company or our customers, and I have already tried reinstalling office 2003, which did not seem to fix the issue :(  Our IT guy has already charged us a fortune working on my machine and failed to figure the issue out.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks
September 16, 2008 6:09:46 PM

I too have been experiencing the same problem and I can recreate it easily. I can repeatedly open up different word documents, closing down word each time - then if I look in task manager - I see many winword(s) running. I'm windows xp - service pack 3 and I'm using Office 2007. I just removed and reinstalled Office - same problem. I tried deleting the normal.dot templates (as mentioned previously) - same problem.

Any ideas would be appreciated.
Thanks!
March 25, 2011 3:03:40 PM

First things first, open a task manager and kill off all winword.exe processes currently running.

Still looking at the process list, launch MSword... observe the winword.exe process appear, and then close MSword and see if it disappears. Normally it should. The problem is when it doesn't and you have 10 of these processes running without MSword even being open. This is probably due to a broken addin. I haven't gotten to the bottom of this, but I've seen this happen a few times with users who've been upgraded from Office 2k3 to Office 2k7.

Go into options>addins and try disabling the search commands com addin. Thus far this has resolved the issue but like I mentioned I haven't fully understood the issue, this is just a fix. There's a separate application in "add-remove programs" for the search commands. The addin we told not to load under options is left over from office 2k3 perhaps? I'm sure there's a simple answer I just haven't run across it yet.
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