MS Word

Make Local Copies of Documents on Network or Removable Drives

The Problem:

My company has several offices, and the way the servers are set up, it's hard to tell which document is on a local server and which is on a remote server. Opening a document on a remote server not only takes ages, but sometimes the connection fails when I'm trying to save changesso I lose my work.

The Solution:

If you don't know how fast a connection you'll have with the server that's providing the file, the easiest fix is to use Windows Explorer to copy the file to your hard disk. When you've finished working with it, copy it back to the server. This two-step process is tedious but effective, and it works with all versions of Word.

Word XP and Word 2003 include an option intended to help you avoid losing data when working with remote files. Choose Tools » Options, click the Save tab, check the "Make local copy of files stored on network or removable drives" box, and click the OK button.

In theory, that should take care of the problem, but Word is more complicated than that. First, Word interprets "removable drive" to mean a drive with a total capacity of 3 MB or lessin other words, a floppy drive. Zip or other removable disks, memory cards, and CDs don't qualify. Second, if the drive does have a capacity of 3 MB or less, Word copies the file to your Temp folder anyway, regardless of whether the "Make local copy of files stored on network or removable drives" box is checked or unchecked. In other words, the option really applies only to network driveswhich, luckily, is probably what you're most interested in anyway.

Word automatically makes a copy of any file you open from a floppy because a floppy disk has such a low capacity that it will quickly become full if Word stores temporary files on it. Floppy disks also read and write data far more slowly than hard disks, so storing a copy and keeping the temporary files on the hard disk is much more efficient.

Once you've checked the "Make local copy of files stored on network or removable drives" box, Word makes a local copy each time you open a file from a network drive. The temporary document is stored in a temp file with an auto-generated name with the .tmp extension (for example, ~WRC1744.tmp) in your %userprofile%\Local Settings\Temp folder.

As you make changes to the document, Word uses the temporary file as its reference file instead of using the document on the network drive. When you save the document, Word saves the changes in the temporary file and then saves them to the network drive. (Word saves the changes in the temporary file first in case the network drive has become unavailable.) When you close the document, Word deletes the temporary file.


If you find that Word XP tends to uncheck the "Make local copy of files stored on network or removable drives" setting even though you've set it, install the WdLocalCopy.dll add-in, which ensures that this checkbox is selected whenever you run Word:

  1. Browse to the Microsoft Knowledge Base (, search for Article 313397, and click the "Download WdLocalCopy.exe Now" link.

  2. Extract the file to your Office folderfor example, Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10.

  3. Choose Start » Run, and type Regsvr32 and the path to the WdLocalCopy.dll filefor example, regsvr32 "c:\program files\microsoft office\office10\wdlocalcopy.dll" (including the quotation marks if the path include spaces, as this example does). Then click the OK button. This installs the add-in so that it runs automatically each time you start Word.