Laptop users (off-line) receive Normal.dotm error while launching MS Word

Product: ProfileUnity

Product Version: 5.5

Expires on: 365 days from publish date

Updated:  June 26, 2013



When starting Microsoft Word with a laptop at (non networked) remote location with ProfileUnity and folder redirection, users receive this error message: “The file Normal.dotm ( cannot be opened because there are problems with the contents.”





Your ProfileUnity is set to redirect windows Shell Folders:

Such as: “My documents” and “Desktop” or more folders.

The error occurs because MS Office can't connect to default location (My Documents) while Laptop user is disconnected from network.

You can check for your default "My Documents" location by looking at those registry locations:

  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders\Personal
  • HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders\Personal

Note: Local AppData and AppData are NOT redirected.


Possible Resolution(s):

It is not recommended to redirect any Shell Folders if laptops will be used off line at another location. As a workaround, the best way to ensure proper functionality of Microsoft Office and avoid data loss is to Enable “Offline Files”

Steps to enable offline files do following steps while you are connected to the local company network:

Step 1. On your user’s laptop go to: "Control Panel>All Control Panel Items>Sync Center> Manage Offline Files"

Step 2. Select:  “Enable offline files” –Restart might be required.

Step 3. Navigate to User’s home directory on the file server (where shell folders are redirected) and right click on each folder and select:  “Always available offline”


Step 4. Give enough adequate time for files to sync-up.

Step 5. Logoff and test accessing your files when disconnected from the network.

This will ensure that all files will be available to the user when he/she takes the laptop offline.

Note: For more information on Offline files please refer to Microsoft article found here:

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