Happens when opening or saving documents on a network
For weeks now I’ve been battling a strange issue with opening (and sometimes saving) Word 2007 documents on a network drive.
The client is a busy law office with several paralegals who typically have several Word documents open throughout the day. While opening documents, Word would hang for a few seconds and display the “downloading” progress bar in the status bar area. It did not happen all the time or at the same point in the day… it was quite random.
The client’s environment is pretty straight forward: a single Windows Server 2008 Standard domain controller with a few shared folders, nine (9) Windows 7 Professional (32bit) computers running Office 2007 Professional SP2. I checked everything from ACL to network cabling looking for a cause, or at least a pattern to the issue. Found nothing!
Here are the things I tried before calling Microsoft, none of these worked in my situation though:
- The obvious things like not having so many documents open at once, etc
- On all computers (server included), turned off Remote Differential Compression (RDC)
- The client is running Symantec Endpoint with Network Protection running, I uninstalled the Network Protection and disabled the Windows Firewall on all PC’s via Group Policy
- Disabled TCP Autotuning using this command: netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled
- Disabled Offline Files via Group Policy
After reading this blog post by Ace Fekay, I tried these changes too, but none of them worked either:
- Disabled IPv4 Large Send Offload using these commands:
- netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled
- netsh interface tcp set global chimney=disabled
So I called Microsoft and opened a case. After explaining the issue and going through the gyrations of convincing each engineer I spoke with that (a) I’m not insane, (b) yes I do actually know what I am talking about, and (c) showing them the evidence I was collecting in the way of the above changes and observations… I was promptly reassigned to a “Product Specialist”, who then told me that because they are so busy another Product Specialist would call me soon. Yeah! Anyway, the Product Specialist did in fact call me and was quite good – he did not read from a script and ask you to reboot, he actually demonstrated some good critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Okay, off my Microsoft support soapbox, on with my story!
So the Product Specialist has me run a few diagnostics to capture “stuff” about the server and computers while the issue wasn’t happening and again when the issue was happening. They even remotely connected to a computer and observed Word 2007 hanging. They analyzed this (I’m guessing here, not really sure what they did with those logs) and then told me “we’re going to try a few things”… meaning, “you are right, there is an issue and we have no clue!”
One of the things we tried was to disable Robustified UNC; according to the Product Specialist, Robustified UNC tells Word 2007 (or any Office 2007 program) to apply “special security” to the document being opened.
So to disable Robustified UNC you need to set this registry key (which is a DWORD) from zero (0) to one (1):
“DisableRobustifiedUNC” = dword:00000001
Immediately after hanging up the telephone with the Product Specialist I googled “DisableRobustifiedUNC” and found exactly three (3) search results, one of them was a blog post titled “Office 2007 Lags When Saving to a UNC Path or Network Share – Robustified UNC” written by Tony at the The Pittsburgh Tech Blog… imagine that! Anyway, thanks Tony for posting your experience… hopefully Microsoft will document this stuff.