Microsoft Word (Winword) .doc .docx – file associate, restore file association, repair

If your Microsoft Word .doc .docx documents don’t open with Microsoft Word….and open with…let’s say Wordpad or some other program…..there could be a file association problem. Here are a few ways you can associate those .doc and .docx files back to Microsoft Word.


**For Microsoft Word 97 and newer***

  • Click Start
  • Click Run ( Windows Vista users..don’t bother looking for Run..just type the next step in the “Start Search” area)
  • Type winword /r in the “Open” box  (there is a SPACE between winword and /r)
  • Click Ok or Enter (on your keyboard)
  • Once it’s done, try opening a Word document


  • Right-click a Word document file
  • Select Open With
  • Select Open Program or Open Default Program
  • Highlight Microsoft Word
  • Place a check on the bottom box that says Always use the selected program to open this kind of file
  • Open a Word file and see if it opens with Microsoft Word

  8 comments for “Microsoft Word (Winword) .doc .docx – file associate, restore file association, repair

  1. kiran
    October 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    thanks for this tip very simple and very good one.

  2. Don
    October 17, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you for the tip.

  3. Francis Pontet
    January 23, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Thank you for Fix 1. How in Gods name does Microsoft think amatauar users ,like myself, can fix problems like this ?? I can only commend you for your expertise and your sharing. Thank you once again.

  4. March 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    What a simple fix… and the only one that worked for me. Thank you

  5. October 13, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I did slightly diff and it worked,

    Under HKeyClassessRoot, i found docx and changed the value of Content Type to “application/msword” and the (Default) to “Word.Document.12″(the number should be the number used in the folder named Word.Document.X, where X is the number used in your directory).

    Then I clicked on Start- Default Programs, and it allowed me to associate Docx with MS Word, it took a few seconds to update.

    This solved the problem, nothing else worked for me. Good luck

  6. renate
    July 23, 2012 at 1:28 am

    omg, thank you so so so much!!! I spent hours looking for a solution for this lameass problem and nothing worked. but then I found your solution.. i love you right now :D

  7. Randy
    December 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Khalid. Your solution worked as you stated. I tried all of the other solutions suggested, but to no avail. For the Content Type entry, I had the following ugly string before the edit:
    And the (Default) entry had docx_auto_file
    Changing both entries fixed the problem system-wide.
    Thank you!

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