PPT2000: PowerPoint Stops Responding When It Is Started

ID: Q236589

The information in this article applies to:


When you click the shortcut on the Windows Start menu (or any shortcut to the PowerPoint executable file: Powerpnt.exe) to start Microsoft PowerPoint 2000, PowerPoint may stop responding (hang).

The PowerPoint application will appear to start; however, no buttons, options, or dialog boxes are displayed. You receive no response with the keyboard or mouse.

You must use Task Manager (CTRL+ALT+Delete) to manually quit PowerPoint.


This problem is caused when there are entries in the Recent File List that contain a combination of special characters that PowerPoint is unable to display properly in the Startup dialog box. PowerPoint stops responding while updating the Startup dialog box with the file names from the Recent File List.

This behavior occurs in file and path names that contain the ampersand symbol (&) at certain points within a long file name.


To resolve this problem, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Disable the Startup Dialog Box

To disable the Startup dialog box, follow these steps:
  1. On the Windows Start menu, point to Find, then click Files or Folders.

  2. In the Named box, type *.ppt (make sure that you select the C:\ drive in the Look in box), then click Find Now.

  3. Double-click any PowerPoint file that is found. This should start PowerPoint without generating an error message.

    NOTE: If no PowerPoint files are found, search for *.pot, or *.pps.

  4. On the Tools menu, click Options.

  5. On the View tab, click to clear the Startup Dialog check box.

If you choose this method, you will no longer see the Startup dialog box when you start PowerPoint. If you want to retain this behavior, you can leave the Startup dialog box disabled indefinitely. There is nothing you can do in the Startup dialog box that you can not do in any of the other dialog boxes.

However, if you want to keep the Startup dialog box, you can enable it after you have saved at least ten consecutive presentations that do not have the ampersand (&) symbol in their names.

If you have already created presentation files that use the ampersand symbol, you may want to change the names of those files to remove the ampersand symbol.

Method Two: Remove the Recent File List From the Registry

If you want to resolve the issue without disabling the Startup dialog box, the Recent File List must be removed from the Registry. To permanently resolve this issue, the files listed in the Recent File List should also be renamed or moved into a different folder.

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about editing the registry. Before you edit the registry, make sure you understand how to restore it if a problem occurs. For information about how to do this, view the "Restoring the Registry" Help topic in Regedit.exe or the "Restoring a Registry Key" Help topic in Regedt32.exe.
WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

For information about how to edit the registry, view the "Changing Keys and Values" Help topic in Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) or the "Add and Delete Information in the Registry" and "Edit Registry Data" Help topics in Regedt32.exe. Note that you should back up the registry before you edit it. If you are running Windows NT, you should also update your Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

To start PowerPoint, follow these steps:
  1. On the Windows Start menu, click Run. In the Open box, type regedit, then click OK.

  2. Locate the following key in the registry by clicking the plus signs next to the appropriate keys.

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\PowerPoint\Recent File List

  3. Click the Recent File List so that Recent File List is selected and the folder for Recent File List is open.

  4. On the Registry menu, click Export Registry File.

  5. Name the Registry file MRU, and save it to your Windows Desktop.

  6. Press Delete to delete the Recent File List registry key.

  7. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.

PowerPoint should now open normally. To avoid this problem in the future, do not use special characters in your file names.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a problem in Microsoft PowerPoint 2000.

Additional query words: ppt2k ppt9 upgrade install lock partial crash dead broken 9.0 9.00 freezing hanging glitch frozen hung kill ending end click locked unable cannot cant can't broke lost ctrl alt del control screen mooniter open start launch opening launching starting beginning greayed out gray select

Keywords          : kbui kbdta kbgpf 
Version           : WINDOWS:2000
Platform          : WINDOWS 
Issue type        : kbbug 

Last Reviewed: July 13, 1999