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Move Word to Another Computer

The Problem:

So I activated Wordand now I need to move it to another computer.

The Solution:

As you'd guess, if your installation of Word is part of Office rather than a standalone installation, you must move all the Office applications to the other computer. Provided you do that, and remove Office from the original computer, transferring the program files is easy enough: a standard installation on the new computer and a standard removal from the original computer.


If you're using Windows XP and need to transfer all your files and settings from one computer to another (rather than transferring just your Word or Office settings), you can use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard instead of the Save My Settings Wizard. Choose Start » All Programs » Accessories » System Tools » Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, and then follow the prompts.

Transferring your Word settings and files takes more work. This is usually the best way to proceed:

  1. First, close all the Office applications on the first computer and use the Save My Settings Wizard to save your Word settings to a file. You'll find the Save My Settings Wizard on the All Programs » Microsoft Office 2003 » Microsoft Office Tools menu for Office 2003 and on the All Programs » Microsoft Office Tools menu for Office XP. Save the settings on a network drive that both computers can access, on a removable drive (such as a USB memory key or an iPod), or to your hard disk. Then burn the settings to CD or DVD.


    Microsoft used to provide a Save My Settings Wizard for Office 2000 that you could download from the Microsoft web site. At the time of this writing, the download is no longer available.
  2. Next, copy the Word-related files from your original computer to your transfer location:

    • Copy the templates from your workgroup templates folder. If you're not sure where this folder is, open Word, choose Tools » Options, click the File Locations tab, and check the readout. If you can't see the full path for the item, double-click it and then examine the "Look in" drop-down box in the Modify Location dialog box.

    • Copy the .ACL file containing your unformatted AutoCorrect entries. Choose Start » Run, type %userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Office, and press Enter. Copy the MSOnnnn.ACL file whose number (represented by nnnn) matches the code for the language you're using. For U.S. English, the code is 1033, so the corresponding configuration file is named MSO1033.ACL. Leave the Windows Explorer window open for the moment.


      If you're not sure which AutoCorrect file you're using, add an AutoCorrect entry in Word and then check the files to see which was modified at the appropriate date and time.
    • In the Windows Explorer window, go up one level to the %userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft folder, and then double-click the Proof folder. Copy your custom dictionaries to your transfer location. If you've saved other custom dictionaries in different folders, copy them too. (If you're not sure where they are, open Word, choose Tools » Options, click the Spelling & Grammar tab, click the Custom Dictionaries button, select each dictionary file in the Custom Dictionaries dialog box, and check the "Full path" readout.)


      These instructions concentrate on Word. In practice, if you're transferring all the Office applications, you will probably want to transfer key files from the other applications as well.
  3. Next, install Office on the destination computer. Run the Save My Settings Wizard on the destination computer to apply the saved settings.

  4. Move the templates, AutoCorrect file, and dictionary files from the transfer location to the corresponding locations on the destination computer. Word will discover the templates, AutoCorrect file, and Custom.dic when you run it, but you will need to add the other dictionaries manually. To add a dictionary, choose Tools » Options, click the Spelling & Grammar tab, click the Custom Dictionaries button, and then click the Add button.

  5. On the original computer, choose Start » Control Panel » Add or Remove Programs, click the Office entry, and click the Remove button.


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