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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2019 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Feb 12, 2019

WordPerfect Tips
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Repairing 'bad' or damaged WordPerfect program files

Related pages on this site -

Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates

Printer and fax formatting problems 

Related Windows system tools
(for advanced users) -

System File Checker - How to use Windows' built-in sfc /scannow to inspect and repair protected Windows operating system files (difficulty: easy)

Windows Defender Offline - When Windows itself won't boot or you suspect you have a 'rootkit' infection or other virus, you can use this self-contained self-booting utility to try and fix it (also see the Windows Secrets Magazine article on this utility here)


Problems with WordPerfect are sometimes -- in fact, more often -- caused by damaged or corrupted documents (.wpd) or templates (.wpt), and not WordPerfect's program files (.exe; .dll; special .wpt files; etc.).

For causes and solutions to problems with documents and templates, see Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates.

Also, some problems are due to outdated or damaged printer drivers or other printer issues. See Printer and fax formatting problems.

It is worth trying those remedies first, since a program repair or reinstallation will NOT remove, restore, overwrite, or fix any user-created or user-modified documents or files (such as the important default template).

Once you believe you have eliminated damage to documents or templates:

Below are some tips and procedures you can follow to try and solve problems with WordPerfect program files, and some other sites to visit if you are not successful (e.g., WordPerfect Universe).

The following is not a comprehensive list, and probably will grow as new solutions are encountered.


Problems with WordPerfect program files?


¤  The following assumes you are using a retail (Corel boxed or Corel download) version of WordPerfect from Corel or other legitimate vendor (e.g., directly from Amazon.com's shipping center), or a version that came pre-installed on your computer, and not a version you might have bought from a relatively unknown deep-discount site. Such products often turn out to be OEM versions that were installed on, and tailored to, specific computer brands.

[Update Dec 2013: Sometimes WordPerfect fails to start because it is a downloaded trial version and the time limit has simply expired. Further, using a serial number from another version -- say, an OEM version purchased from some "discount price" sites -- does not activate a trial version.]

¤  Also, some downloaded trial versions from Corel (i.e., versions prior to WPX6) or some pre-installed OEM versions bundled with your computer might not have all the features that full retail versions contain. Hence your problem might not be due to bad program files but to the unexpected absence of a feature or function that you believe should exist.

1. The main WordPerfect program

[Option A]

Some problems, "bugs," or minor annoyances are usually fixed by Corel and included in a Service Pack (an "SP" or "patch") for specific versions of the program.

Updating WordPerfect is an often neglected procedure (even though it generally is easy to do) on the theory that "if it ain't broke don't fix it." This is your choice, of course, but this author has rarely seen a problem with a Service Pack, and when one surfaces it is fixed almost immediately.

•  Your version might have an option to check for updates on the Help menu.

    - or -

•  See the Corel WordPerfect site under the Support (tab), download Patches & Updates for the current and most recent 2 (or 3) versions. (Some people prefer to download and save the patches so they can install them at a later time.)

See also "Updating, upgrading, or reinstalling WordPerfect" here for related topics.

[Option B]

What about trying to repair or reinstall the program (or your WordPerfect program's settings in the Windows Profile)?

Note: The accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed. Microsoft and Corel can change the program repair methods at any time, so you might want to seek additional advice. These methods are merely the author's preferences. Always make a backup of important programs and files first.

REPAIRING the WordPerfect program

Important: Like a program uninstall, a program repair does not fix, remove or replace any WordPerfect user files (i.e., your documents, a customized default template, etc.) that might be damaged. For those items see Repairing WordPerfect documents and templates.
  For WordPerfect 10 (c.2001) and later versions (see the next section for earlier WordPerfect versions)

•   In modern versions of Windows such as Windows 10and where you don't have the original installation disk handy (see below), use the Windows Control Panel to conduct a Repair of the WordPerfect program. (For some earlier Windows versions see the method below.)

Note that Windows 10 (and perhaps Windows 8/8.1) also has a Settings ("Apps & Features") module (click All Settings in the Notification area) but it doesn't allow you to modify (thus, repair) the main WordPerfect program. In fact, the Modify choice on that screen is grayed out and unavailable; only the Uninstall choice is active. Further, a separate choice to Repair is not even available (perhaps due to the installation on your system of the separate WordPerfect Setup module, as described below).

Hence you must use the Windows Control Panel, not the Settings module. In turn, it
gives you access to WordPerfect's Setup module which has a Repair option.

Here's how.

You can use a shortcut to get to the (now somewhat hidden) Windows Control Panel. [If you already know how to get to the Control Panel, open it and jump down to step #3.]

[1] Simultaneously press the Windows logo key and the S key [Windows Logo key+S] to open the Windows search feature.

Search for "Control Panel".

[2] Click on the "found" item typically labeled "Control Panel - Desktop App".

This should bring up the Adjust your computer's settings screen.

[3] Click on "Uninstall a program" (don't worry, you won't need to uninstall it).

You should now be in the Control Panel's Uninstall or change a program screen.

[4] Click on the name of the program in the list to choose it (e.g., WordPerfect Office X9), and then click Uninstall/Change at the top of the list of programs (or just right-click on the chosen program and click Uninstall/Change).

A Windows dialog appears asking you to confirm your choice:
"Do you want this app to make changes to your device? ... Unistall or change an application"

[Yes] [No]

[This dialog alerts you that you need Administrator status for that computer to allow changes to a program.]
[5] When you click the Yes button you should see the WordPerfect Office setup screen appear (it can take a few moments to load).

Three radio buttons on the setup screen give you these options:
○ Modify
○ Remove
[Note: Under those buttons is a checkbox, "Remove User Files". Generally most users will NOT check that box unless they really want to remove user files -- which includes the current default template.]

[6] Choose (enable) the Repair radio button and then click on the Repair button at the bottom of the setup screen if you wish to continue. Or you can click the "X" to abort and exit the setup module.

If you continue you should see the Setup in Progress screen as the program is being repaired.

•   In earlier versions of Windows you can use the Microsoft Installer (.msi), typically through the Windows Control Panel's Add or Remove Programs applet in Windows XP (in Vista/Windows7 you can use Start, Control Panel, Programs, Uninstall a program; choose the WordPerfect program and click Uninstall/Change; then choose Repair). You can also right-click the appropriate .MSI file and choosing Repair.

•   Alternatively: Insert your program's installation CD and when the new installation screen appears, you should be given three choices, variously named Typical installation, Repair, and Custom installation. Choose Repair.

  For WordPerfect 7, 8, and 9 (c. 1996-2000)

For these earlier WordPerfect versions you can use PFREG, "...a Corel utility that can be used to unregister and register PerfectFit components in the Windows registry. Running it can solve a variety of problems and is a common troubleshooting recommendation."

UNINSTALLING and REINSTALLING WordPerfect — "the solution of last resort"

An uninstall operation does not automatically remove files which you have modified — and this includes the default template file. If that file is corrupted the re-installed program will still use the corrupted file. So, you should relocate or rename the default template file before uninstalling the program.

Before beginning an uninstall, see the tips here about backing up your customizations so you can migrate them to the reinstalled program. Then, if you wish to completely remove all traces of the program go to the Corel support website at http://corel.force.com/index/ and search under WordPerfect Office for "uninstall," "manually remove," or other similar term. For example, you should be able to find a page on manually (and completely) uninstalling WordPerfect by searching for "4352" (for WPX4), "4657" (for WPX5), "13709" (for WPX6) or just "How to remove WordPerfect." The procedures there are more thorough than using the Control Panel to uninstall the program (which in most cases is sufficient).

[Option C]

If WordPerfect won't open or displays a document in a strange way, try this tip from Charles Rossiter (Corel C_Tech):

"You need to have set up [in Windows] a default printer. Actually you can install any printer, even if you do not have the physical printer. Basically, the printer driver defines the interface between WPWin and the printer. With no printer installed, WPWin does not know how to format the document for printing, and so it also does not know how to display the document."

[Option D]

Here are some other methods to try.

•  Restore factory defaults.

This method is commonly recommended by Corel support — probably because it often fixes issues with the program.

From Corel's article "How do I restore WordPerfect to its factory defaults":

"... In some cases, Wordperfect's default installation may become corrupt or damaged preventing the application from launching, or working properly [or possibly to minimize, maximize, or close it]. This document will restore factory defaults by renaming Wordperfect's configuration files...." 
[See Footnote 1 [below] for the full text
(current as of April 2016).]

This procedure simply renames the relevant Windows Registry key (in case it or any sub-key is corrupt), as well as the Windows profile (Corel) subfolder. Both things are easy to do, and renaming these items means they can easily be restored if desired.

When you have done these things, WordPerfect will create factory fresh versions of them when next it loads. Hence, this is a "fix" for corrupt program "environment" and user configuration ("profile") settings.

Note that several other important files will be automatically recreated (thus, restored to factory their defaults) if you manually rename or delete them in separate operations, such as the default template or QuickWords template. (Renaming is the preferred option.) But this is often done as a remedy for a corrupt WordPerfect default or QuickWords template, which is not the same as fixing a corrupt Windows profile -- which is a database of user folders, files, and some other user settings.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that you should rename the items described in the above Corel article, since deleting the profile will delete any customized user files in it -- such as the default template, which contains toolbars, keyboard definitions, menus, etc. By renaming these items you can often restore customizations from the renamed items. This is discussed here. At a later time you can remove the old renamed items if you wish.

•  You could try creating a new Windows User Account, which creates a new User Profile, which is basically a section of the Windows registry on your computer — a database of user-specific settings along with a set of folders that are stored in a per-user directory on your disk. You can then log in as that new user to see if the problem goes away. See here for more.

•  You could try starting Windows in Safe Mode. [Windows 10 is a little different: see (e.g.) PCWorld's "How to boot into Windows 10's Safe Mode" here or search other sites.] This is a mode in which Windows loads only the bare minimum services and applications to start up. This will ensure that no other application or service is running (i.e., resident in RAM memory) that may be interfering with WordPerfect. (If the problem disappears you will need to track down the program that is interfering with WordPerfect.)

2. QuickCorrect feature

See the QuickCorrect FAQ on the WordPerfect Universe FAQ Forum. The FAQ also explains how to backup, transfer (to another system or newer version of WordPerfect), and print this useful file.

3. QuickWords feature

While QuickCorrect entries are stored in a special program file (the user word list, a .uwl file), QuickWords are stored in their own template file (.wpt). The template is located in the same folder as the WordPerfect default template, as shown in Tools, Settings, Files, Template.

To manage (backup, migrate, salvage/repair, etc.) your QuickWords, see here.

Page Top

Footnote 1

[Continued from "Restore factory defaults" above:]

From the Corel support database (5/2016) at -

How do I restore WordPerfect® to its factory defaults?

In some cases, Wordperfect's default installation may become corrupt or damaged preventing the application from launching, or working properly. This document will restore factory defaults by renaming Wordperfect's configuration files.

To restore the product to its factory defaults follow the instructions listed below:

1. Reset your WordPerfect settings:

• For Windows Vista and Windows 7 only: Go to Start, and All Programs, and then Accessories. Click on Run, and then type regedit in the Open Box and click OK.

For Windows 8 and up: On the keyboard, press Windows key + R.  Type regedit in the Open box and click on OK.

For all other versions of Windows: Go to Start and up to Run. Type regedit in the Open box and click on OK.

2. Click on the + next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

3. Click on the + next to Software.

4. Right click on the Corel folder and left click on rename. Call the folder CorelOld.

5. Click on the - next to Software

6. Click on the - next to HKEY_CURRENT_USER.

7. Close the registry editor.

8. Reset your WordPerfect configuration files:

For Windows 2000 or XP:
- Click Start, Run
- In Open, Type "%APPDATA%" and click Ok This will open a folder called "Application Data"
- Within Application Data, right click on Corel and left click the option rename. Call the folder CorelOld

For Windows Vista and Windows 7:
- Go to Start, and All Programs, and then Accessories. Click on Run.
- In Open, Type "%APPDATA%" and click Ok This will open a folder called "Application Data"
- Within Roaming, right click on Corel and left click the option rename. Call the folder CorelOld

For Windows 95/98/ME:
- Go into Windows
- Go into Application Data
- Right click on Corel and left click on the option rename. Call the folder CorelOld.

9. Close all files and folders on your screen

For WordPerfect Office 2000 ONLY

1. Use Windows Explorer to browse to C:\Program Files\Corel\WordPerfect Office 2000\Config\Regfiles
2. Hit CTRL+A to select all files in this folder
3. Hit ENTER to import all the registry files. This will produce approximately 23 dialog boxes asking you if you are sure you would like to import the following information into the registry. Hit Yes then hit OK.
4. Close all files and folders on your screen.