Recently, I ran into a problem where Word would crash immediately upon opening. It would flash up the standard screen and then just sit there frozen. I'd have to end the program to make it go away. To end a non-responsive program, you press Ctrl+Alt+Del and in the Applications tab, highlight the offending program and click End Process. Usually the offending program will say Not Responding in the Status column. (With my Word situation, I had pretty much figured that out.)
In any case, because the problem was new, I figured that some software I had installed recently caused Word to die. Realistically, I use Word almost every day, so I didn't have to search too far back in my memory banks to determine the software I'd installed. I had loaded a trial of Stamps.com software the day before.
It took me a while to figure out the relationship actually. As it turned out, I had selected an optional Word addressing feature, since it seemed like a nice idea. However, crashing Word was unacceptable, so it had to go. The question was how to get it out of Word.
To include extra features from outside vendors, Word uses a concept called an "add-in." These additional programs or templates are loaded when you start Word. If Word is crashing on start-up, a wayward add-in is often to blame. You can tell if that's the problem by starting Word with no add-ins. If it runs and doesn't crash, you can be pretty sure the add-in is to blame. That's what happened in my case with the Stamps.com software.
To run Word with no add-ins, you need to use the /a switch. Click Start, Run and click the Browse button to find Winword.exe (the folder depends on which version you are using). Type a space after the path, then add /a. You end up with something along the lines of:
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe" /a
To get rid of the Add in, I had to play a little game. First I put the COM Add-ins button on the toolbar, so I could find the Stamps.com add-in. Choose Tools|Customize and in the commands tab, click the Tools category and drag the COM Add-ins button to the toolbar. When you click the button, you see the Add-ins that are available. I then clicked Remove to ditch the Stamps.com one. From that, I was able to determine the file name and since I was annoyed, I also rummaged around my hard disk and deleted the add-in file itself too, just to be really sure it wouldn't come back.