Because computers don't fix themselves

Office 2007 documents open SUPER slow

I’ve run into an interesting issue.  It seems to only affect newer machines that are running Windows XP SP3.  In my case, they were both brand new Dell Vostros. 

With a fresh load of Windows, and a fresh install of Microsoft Office 2007 professional, the computer seemed very fast.  Word and Excel would even open extremely fast.  But, if I tried to open an existing document by double clicking on the document, it would take close to 3 minutes to open Word/Excel and then open the document.

I tried EVERYthing I could think of to discover the root of this problem, to no avail.  I even re-formatted one of them, and reloaded everything from scratch:  same problem.

Solution:

Well, in my opinion not quite a solution, because I never found the original problem.  But, by doing this, it gets Office to open quickly, and that’s what’s important to my clients.

I had to disable DDE when opening all .doc, .docx, .xls, and .xlsx files.

To do so:

  • Open My Computer
  • Click on Tools / Folder options
  • Click on the File Types tab
  • Select .doc file type
  • Click the “advanced” button at the bottom
  • Select “Open” (which should be in bold)
  • Click the “edit” button
  • In the field labeled “Application used to perform action:” scroll to the end of the text in there
  • Erase the “/dde”
  • Type in “%1″ (yes, with the quotes) in its place
  • Uncheck the box that says “Use DDE”
  • Click ok
  • Click ok

Repeat the exact same thing for .docx files

Then, repeat again for .xls and .xlsx files.  (Note, there’s a slight difference in Excel.  You still must add the “%1″ to the end of the string, but there is probably no “/dde” to erase.)

That seemed to do the trick.  Documents opened nice and fast like they’re supposed to.

I’m still curious what actually causes this problem, rather than turning off a native part of windows’ functionality, but, hey, whatever works, right?