Microsoft Word restores all open documents when clicking on a .DOC file


I tend to have a few Word documents that I keep open all the time, with notes for a long-running project. Normally they are all minimized.

The problem is that when I click on a different .doc or .docx file in Windows Explorer, even though the new document opens in its own window, the other, minimized Word documents get restored, too. Now I have several restored windows that I wanted to keep minimized.

I started noticing this problem on Windows 7, but I’m not sure if it’s unique to Windows 7. I’m using Word 2007.

Asked by Joel Spolsky


You can fix this problem by blocking Word from using DDE to open files.

In the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\shell\Open key:

  • Delete or rename the ddeexec sub-key

In the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\shell\Open\command key:

  • Delete or rename the command value (not to be confused with the command key.)
  • Edit the (Default) value and add "%1" (including quotes) at the end

This solves the problem for .docx files. If you also want to solve it for .doc files, do the same thing for Word.Document.8

Thanks to: Rafael’s Within Windows which has detailed instructions.

Answered by Joel Spolsky