Friday, 15 June 2018

Word read-only bug fix

I recently had a problem where a file I had been working on suddenly opened after a restart as read-only. I had no idea why that would have happened, so went looking on Google, and struck paydirt pretty quickly.

Way back in 2010, people had been finding that random Word documents would be working just fine, and would then suddenly begin to open as read-only documents. From that time onwards, the only way to save them was to 'save as' each and every time the file was opened. A number of users had posted on a Microsoft forum (Erba, 14 October 2010) about this bug, but no workable solution had been found. One Microsoft technician had suggested that people with this problem turn off the auto-save function, but users reported that this made no difference. The problem, once started, simply continued.

It was a user who provided the solution, and what an unusual solution that was! What users had to do was to go into File Explorer (Windows Explorer) and on the top left, below the main menu, click on the 'Organize' dropdown. Select Layout from the menu, then click "Details" off (NB: some users had to turn "Preview" off, but Details worked for me).

That's it.

When I read the solution, I suddenly remembered something weird having happened the last time I was in Explorer, so I am guessing that I had inadvertently turned this function on. I would never have connected the two things except for jtho's solution (14 October 2010).

Perhaps having inadvertently turned this on creates an auto-save file that can't be deleted, or Word thinks that it still has a copy open somewhere... who knows. But it is fixed now!


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