.doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

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.doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby cepheus42 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:51 pm

Ok, so I've had this file I've been working on for the past 3 weeks, a business plan for my new company. I've saved it and re-saved it multiple times, and I currently have OpenOffice Writer set up to default the save as MS Office 97-2003 file. I do not work on the file in MS Word, nor am I trying to open it with MS Word.

Today I worked on the file for a few moments, saved it as I always do, then closed it. When I tried to reopen the file a few minutes later, I received the following error: This is not a Winword97 File. Let me state that again: I was trying to reopen a file I had just worked on, had just saved as I always do, and it will now no longer open. I am NOT trying to open it in Word, I am trying to open it in OpenOffice Writer 2.4

I have followed every suggested procedure for fixing corrupted OpenOffice files, and each one failed. There is nothing in the temp folders, renaming it as a zip file led to the "this is not a valid archive file" error, I can not insert it into a blank writer document (same "not a Winword97 file" error), and every other possible solution failed. I did try a demo version of a downloadable recovery program, and it did seem to pick up the file content, but I can not afford at this time to pay $99 for the program.

Anyone have any bright thoughts at this point? I've never had a problem with OpenOffice before, but I'm now suddenly leery of continuing to use this program if this is going to be an ongoing issue. I can not afford corrupted files when I am attempting to open a new business, and I have a key meeting on Thursday and need to have this document fixed by then.
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Re: ODT File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby TheGurkha » Sat Jan 24, 2009 7:10 pm

Hi and welcome to the forums.

It is only the .odt files that can be renamed as .zips and opened to retrieve the content if they get corrupted. The Word format is a proprietary Microsoft binary format. Until recently the .doc, .xls and other Microsoft binary formats were a locked proprietary secret and so the OOo developers had to basically reverse engineer them.

It is always safer to work in the native OOo formats (.odt and .ods etc) and then use Save As to save a copy in .doc or .xls format if you need to distribute it. But always then go back to the native OOo version to continue working. If the people you are sending to do not need to edit the files then it is best to send them a PDF as then no matter what office suite they use it will be possible for them to read and print the files.

usually, a dead Word file really is dead, and there is little chance of getting it back. But with any file type, and especially for anything that is critical or important, save often and save in different locations. Back up, back up and back up again.

Presumably the file is too sensitive/confidential for you to post here?

[Forum] How to attach a document here
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Re: ODT File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby cepheus42 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:37 pm

Sorry, but this is not a useful answer. There are entirely too many unskilled computer users in the organization to expect them to know how to translate a file back and forth from Word format to OpenOffice format. I need to be able to set their systems to save as a Word file so their documents are always and forever compatible with MS Office, because files are being distributed from this organization to many others, most of whom use MS Office (love it or hate it, it's the standard by which everything else has to play). If this is the best solution, then I will have to rethink using OpenOffice, it's clearly not going to be of use to us as I had hoped.

Yes, I know the backup mantra. Note to developers: autobackup should always be turned on by default. If it had been, this would not have been an issue (but will certainly not be an issue going forward, I've turned it on myself). And no, I will not post the file. Even if it were not confidential, I want to LEARN how to fix it so I can do it myself if it occurs again, I do not want someone else to fix it for me (or recover the data for me). If I can not support OpenOffice, then that's another strike against it for corporate-wide usage.

Anyone else want to take a shot? Surely someone else has had this problem and solved it, I can't be the only one who has ever seen this error.
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Re: ODT File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Hagar Delest » Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:25 pm

Sadly, you're at least the third one within the last couple of days to report this problem.

I would not consider using OOo in a mixed environment at all. First each import/export operation can lead to data loss and it can be problematic, especially if the loss is small. You may not notice it before it's too late. And second, it seems there is a big bug hidden somewhere according to the threads about that.

BTW, I changed your thread title, this is a .doc issue, not a .odt.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby cepheus42 » Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:53 am

Unfortunately there's no choice. The company I currently perform IT work for (not the one I'm launching) is:

1. too cheap to provide their entire staff with Microsoft Office
2. have a centralized office that refuses to give up Microsoft Office, but requires staff to be able to open/edit their files
3. already mixed (we installed OpenOffice in every PC that needed it, roughly 300); going back is too time consuming and expensive

Had I known about these issues ahead of time, we would never have done the deployment. It seemed like the perfect solution given the conditions we were operating in. Hindsight is 20 20 of course. Now that I've learned of the difficulties, I can move forward with my own deployment and make an informed choice about which product to use, but I'm left with a condition that I have to support for a while and I still need a solution for it should users start stumbling across the problem.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Hagar Delest » Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:15 pm

I've looked at the other thread I recall about that it occurred also with 2.4. Can you upgrade to 3.0? Perhaps the export filter is better.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Flaxthejute » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:10 am

If you have MSWord, try the option to "recover text from any file" (can't remember the exact option, but you'll find it in the file-open dialog).

If anyone knows of an equivalent in Ooo, this would be a good place to mention it.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby PGAGA » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:27 am

January 25 2009

Have you checked for a corrupt lock file?

If your system is Win32, then the PC File Inspector File Recovery program might enable you to recover an earlier version.

http://www.pcinspector.de/Sites/file_re ... language=1

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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby timpo17 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:35 am

cepheus@

I have the same problem..Also curious about a way to fix the file and any debug info gathered..

I am going to try and save the file elsewhere and open it- i'll let ya know if anythings comes of it..

I found this bit of info that may be helpful in the future:

You need to make sure the little box labelled "Automatic file name
>extension" is selected when you save your document. Otherwise
>Microsoft's software gets confused.

gl!
-timpo
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Cambirder » Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:48 am

There is only one real fix, and that applies whatever office suite you are using. Back up all your important documents.

Any file in any format can become corrupted, and hard disks fail.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby C.Schroeder » Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:42 am

I can only hope this is more helpful than all the sarcastic posts of "back up your file". That's not helpful you clowns.
OP, i realize this may have been written too late to help, i only hope that the next person who types "This is not a WinWord97 file" has better luck.

Out of all the remedies on the internet, the only one that worked in the least, recovered about 90% of my file. And all i did was rename it with a .rtf, open it with wordpad, then copy and paste the mumbo-jumbo inside to a new .odt file, so that i could edit it. i only lost my last page long paragraph. I can only hope this was hopeful.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Zizi64 » Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:41 pm

I can only hope this is more helpful than all the sarcastic posts of "back up your file". That's not helpful you clowns.

I think, it was not a sarcastic post, but VERY useful, and helpful, for the future.
If you work with a computer, the first-level task to make back up save of your work files.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Cambirder » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:50 pm

I can only hope this is more helpful than all the sarcastic posts of "back up your file". That's not helpful you clowns.


Is it helpful to drag up a thread that has been dormant for 10 month just to throw insults around. Time you grew up.
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby Bill » Fri Dec 03, 2010 6:54 pm

C.Schroeder wrote:I can only hope this is more helpful than all the sarcastic posts of "back up your file".


It's not sarcastic. It's just good common sense advice. Even Microsoft starts off their advice on "How to troubleshoot damaged Word documents" with "The best way to prevent problems with document damage is to keep backup copies of your documents."
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Re: .doc File Error: This is not a Winword97 File

Postby twingle93 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:03 am

When this happens, upload the .doc to Google docs and then you can open it, once there download it back onto your computer.
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