Monday, September 29, 2014

Prevent Word from Restoring Minimized Documents

This has been bugging me, and today I finally researched a solution. When using Word (and, possibly, other Office apps), if one or more documents are minimized and then a new document is opened, the minimized documents are restored. You can easily imagine how irritating this is. I’ve seen this behavior in SQL Management Studio as well.

There are two solutions (with attribution links) below, depending on your version of Word. As far as I can tell, these are independent of which Windows version is installed. Note that it’s important to update the registry keys for both docx and doc file types.

Word 2010 and later

(The encoded command value may differ depending on your installation.)

My registry had these settings under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\shell\Open\command:

Default: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\WINWORD.EXE" /n "%1" /o "%u"

Command: yh1BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkWORDFiles>!2-1&m&8y@Nmo2r)^f-C /n "%1" /o "%u"

I changed them to this (removing the, "/o "%u"" and adding "/q" before "/n" to remove the splash screen :

Default: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\WINWORD.EXE" /q /n "%1"

Command: yh1BV5!!!!!!!!!MKKSkWORDFiles>!2-1&m&8y@Nmo2r)^f-C /q /n "%1"

I did the same for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.8\shell\Open\command, and am now able to open other files without restoring or maxmizing other minimized Word .doc or .docx files.

Word 2007 and earlier

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

[clf note: some authors recommend changing /n /dde to /q /n “%1”  I think the /q might make a difference in Win7+.]

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.


  1. Hi there

    Please help me I don't know how to access HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\shell\Open key. I don't know what it means! Thank you in advance.


  2. got anything i can do so i don't have to do this for 500 separate users? thus why reg edit fixes are no good in a work environment.

  3. @Unknown
    If you're on a domain with Active Directory, I recommend learning how to use Group Policy Objects for applying registry settings. If not, I don't have a suggestion.