Productivity Windows

How to Fix “Please Wait While Windows Configures Microsoft Office” Message

Brad Jones 27-09-2016

Stuck with an error message that says Windows is configuring Microsoft Office? Here’s the fix.


Picture the scene: you’re coming down to the wire on a book report, or a work presentation 10 Tips for Making Better PowerPoint Presentations with Office 2016 Microsoft PowerPoint continues to set new standards. New features in PowerPoint 2016 manifest its top spot as the best option for smart and creative presentations. Read More , or an important spreadsheet — but when you go to open up the appropriate Microsoft Office program, you’re met with an error message that just won’t leave.

The dreaded “Please wait while Windows configures Microsoft Office” message can be a real drag, but fortunately there are fixes available.

The most frustrating part of this particular issue is that it’s so difficult to diagnose exactly what the problem is. However, one of these techniques should get you the answers that you’re looking for. Follow each process in the order that they’re listed here, and you’ll be closer to getting Microsoft Office back in action, so you can get on with the project at hand.

Repair Microsoft Office

If it seems that your installation of Microsoft Office has been corrupted How to Repair or Recover Data From a Corrupted PDF File If you can't open a PDF document, it might be because it's corrupted. Here's everything you can do to fix a corrupted PDF file. Read More or otherwise damaged, your first port of call should be the repair function. The process will check for common issues and could potentially fix the problem automatically, so it’s a great starting point.

Open the Control Panel and navigate to Programs > Programs and Features. Scroll through the list of software that’s installed on your computer and find your installation of Microsoft Office.


Programs and Features on Windows 10

Right-click the entry and select Change. At this point, you’ll be asked whether you want to carry out a Quick Repair or an Online Repair. A Quick Repair will fix most issues, so try that before you move onto an Online Repair.

Office Quick Repair Prompt

If the process doesn’t work, then you can move onto some of the more in-depth fixes below.


Activate the Windows Search Service

One common cause of the stuck configuration dialog is a situation where the 32-bit version of Microsoft Office is installed to a 64-bit version of Windows. If this is the case, the message presented to the user will reference 64-bit components.

64-bit Windows Search Service

Happily, the fix for this problem is relatively straightforward. To get started, close any instance of the Office program that you’re trying to open up and then head to the Control Panel. Navigate to Programs > Programs and Features and then click Turn Windows features on or off.

Programs and Features -- Turn Features On or Off


Find Windows Search in the list, and ensure that its box is checked. Then click OK — you may need to restart your system How to Stop Windows 10 Update From Restarting Without Asking Windows 10 can be annoying by the way it restarts without any notice. Fortunately, there's a way around that. Read More for the changes to take effect.

Start Office in Safe Mode

Sometimes the configuration message can hang as a result of third-party add-ins. By starting Microsoft Office in safe mode How to Boot in Safe Mode on Windows 10 Facing Windows booting problems? Safe Mode is a built-in Windows 10 troubleshooting feature you should try first. Read More and circumventing these additional components, you can determine whether or not this is the case.

To activate safe mode, search for your desired Office program using the search bar, then hold CTRL as you click on it. The following message will appear:

Start Microsoft Word in Safe Mode


Click Yes and see whether the program opens as normal. If it does, then you can disable the add-ins you have installed individually to find out which one is causing problems.

Disabling Add-ins

Head to File > Options and navigate to the Add-ins section. Make sure that the drop-down menu is set to COM Add-ins and then click the Go… button beside it.

Microsoft Word COM Add-ins

Disable all your add-ins 10 Handy Productivity Add-Ins for Microsoft Word Add-ins can completely change your workflow. If you no longer have to leave your document for small tasks, your productivity will soar. Try out these 10 mini apps for Microsoft Word. Read More and restart the program to make sure that things run normally. Then, enable them one by one until you determine which one is to blame.

Fix Office With a Run Command

We can use the Run dialog 13 Run Shortcut Tricks Every Windows User Should Know The Run prompt can be used to immediately access various parts of Windows. Here are the most common shortcuts you should know. Read More to input commands that tweak the way that Windows programs are initialized. By doing so, we can work around whatever is causing the program to hang on the configuration message.

To open a Run dialog, press Windows key + R. Alternatively, you can just type “run” into the search bar.

Run Prompt on Windows 10

First, try entering the following string into the field:

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options /v NoReReg /t REG_DWORD /d 1

If this solution doesn’t work, then we might be able to use a switch to diagnose the problem.

Using Switches

Switches are instructions that change the way that a particular program behaves 25 Outlook 2016 Command Line Switches You Have to Know Command line switches in Microsoft Outlook can perform all kinds of tasks. Learn these Outlook command line switches today. Read More , that don’t require the user to open that piece of software. They can be particularly useful when we’re trying to diagnose a problem that’s preventing the program from starting up normally.

Here are some switches that you can enter into a Run dialog in order to sniff out problems with Microsoft Office:

  • winword /r — Resets Word’s registry values to their defaults.
  • winword /m — Prevents Word from loading macros.
  • winword /a — Prevents Word from loading its add-ins.

If you’re not working with Word, you can replace winword with excel for Excel and powerpnt for PowerPoint. Alternatively, you could write out the location of each program’s .exe file on the drive.

Do you need help with Office on Linux instead of Windows? Take a look at our guide to installing and using Microsoft Office on Linux How to Install Microsoft Office on Linux Microsoft Office on Linux is possible. We cover three methods for getting Office working inside of a Linux environment. Read More .

Explore more about: Microsoft Word, Troubleshooting, Windows Search.

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  1. YAIR
    January 27, 2019 at 10:29 am

    Thanks for the solutions, for me it worked out with adding a registry entry through the command line

  2. Becky Burns
    June 11, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for this info... unfortunately after trying each of the above suggestions, I am still getting a configuring window each time I open Word 2016 (I don't get it when opening any other Office software). I have no other versions of Office installed, I have no add-ins to disable (though when I open Word in safe made, it doesn't configure), I ran the Office repair and restarted, I uninstalled and reinstalled Office 2016 Standard on my Windows 10 desktop. Plus I am now getting an error message as it configures: "Error 1907. Could not register font. Verify that you have sufficient permissions to install font." I'm pulling my hair out over this! I sure appreciate any suggestions you may have!