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Office Documents report being Read Only unexpectedly

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Users who sleep/hibernate their laptop or workstation with Office documents open in desktop Office applications, or have unstable internet connections, may find that their Office documents become read only while they have them open.

 

This may be accompanied by messages in Office or the event viewer like

“Word cannot establish a network connect with this document after the system resumed from suspend mode. Save the document into a different file to keep any changes”

 

This issue stems from Office losing connection to the document due to a loss of internet and marking the document as read only within itself.

You may not see the file as open on the file system or in locked in MyWorkDrive, and other users may be able to the file just fine; but the original user will have a document that the user’s workstation believes is read only.

 

This isn’t a problem with MyWorkDrive. Searching the internet will find many instances of this complaint from on prem users traveling between buildings or stepping away for lunch.

Its a flaw in Office itself, which countless people have reported, but which remains unresolved by Microsoft.

 

You may perceive this to be a “new” complaint after deploying MyWorkDrive, but that is most likely a result of users now having the mobility of MyWorkDrive allowing them to work on their file shares remotely. Its easy now for someone to start editing a document at home, travel to the office and with MyWorkDrive reconnecting in the background, simply keep working – where before the user might need to change their VPN or remember to upload the file to the network from their desktop.

 

Unfortunatley, it does not seem like Microsoft has a solution for this problem – at least since Office 2010. The solutions recommended are to avoid allowing the workstation to lose its internet connection while documents are Opening.

 

We would advise you to instruct/counsel users not to leave documents open when sleeping/hibernating their workstations. When you are done editing a document or are stepping way from your machine/closing it to travel, save and exit any open documents.

The following are some reports on the problem and user recommended solutions, none of which have been found to actually resolve the problem (except Microsoft’s “do not allow the machine to sleep or network to be disconnected”)

Microsoft
https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/word-documents-converted-to-read-only/f7b55b60-4d7f-43b9-bf32-865ceac25ba1

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/msoffice/forum/all/my-word-files-become-read-only-after-coming-out-of/d1598765-964a-e011-8dfc-68b599b31bf5

https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/ie/en-US/243c2722-7fb0-433a-9b74-9b9051051cd7/problem-with-office-2013-documents-after-pc-resumes-from-sleep

 

Spiceworks
https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1499872-office-makes-documents-read-only

https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/2202690-office-365-switching-office-files-to-read-only-mode-when-opened-from-network

 

Reddit
https://www.reddit.com/r/MicrosoftWord/comments/7yiek9/open_word_document_goes_read_only_when_laptop/