Installing Word 97 in Windows 10

Dear Computer Lady,

I’ve appreciated your advice for a long time. Thanks for your column.
I bought a new computer last fall, finally, Win 10, and have been fighting with Word 2016 ever since.

I finally gave up and installed my old Word 97, which worked fine except for the annoying message that popped up every time I opened the program: The Windows registry has reported that one or more required files are damaged or missing. To correct this problem, run the Word Setup program. Did that a couple of times but couldn’t get rid of the message. So I went into the control panel and tried the compatibility section, which was a mistake. Now I can’t open any saved Word 97 files. Uninstalled and reinstalled 97 several times but no luck.

How can I go back to using 97 with the original annoying message I was trying to get rid of? I can live with that. Poking around on the Internet, I’ve seen several messages from people that they’re running 97 just fine with Win 10.

Thanks for any help. Diane in Cottonwood, AZ

Dear Diane,

What you probably should have done in the beginning was to uninstall Office (or Word) 2016, restart the computer, then installed Word 97.

It is important to restart the computer after un-installing 2016 and before installing 97. The restart actually finishes the removal process.

What I would do now to try and correct this problem is to uninstall all Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, etc.) both 97 and 2016. Restart the computer before trying to install anything.

Now, install Word 97 and see if it works.

If that doesn’t work, you might need to take it in to your local computer shop. If you brought it into my shop, I would try uninstalling as above, then if it didn’t work, I would be able to try some more advanced techniques.



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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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