Word 'Not Responding' when using 'Find & Replace All' - Can it be interrupted?

Brass Contributor

I keep running into situations where doing a 'Replace All' unexpectedly causes Word to stop responding.  It's not only large files, numerous results, or complex strings/formatting, often it's a small file and a query/replacement that is simple and straightforward - rarely does Word warn me that 'it might take awhile'.  Haven't seen any pattern to tell what might work fine and what will trigger Word to immediately - and infinitely - lock up.


Resource wise it will start drawing a ton of power and good chunk of my CPU, but nowhere near maxing out my machine.  Memory consumption spikes for a while, but eventually drops considerably, eventually back to normal - but the power draw and CPU stay elevated.  


I had hoped there would be a way to interrupt it, but it doesn't appear to be a separate process, and didn't respond to sending a BREAK, mashing ESC, etc.


Is there any way to pause/abort the Replace All process, or is the only option to forcefully close Word entirely?


I'm also curious to know if there are some settings/combinations that are more demanding than others, and/or if there's any indicators to distinguish situations when Word is actually FUBAR, versus just needing a bit more time.



3 Replies

@JC Reardon 

Word has been 'Not Responding' for the last 90 minutes;

  • Power Usage (per task mgr) has been 'Very High' and the fans have been going full tilt the entire time.
  • CPU hovering around 20% throughout, though trending slightly lower in the last 15min.
  • Memory use started around 2k MB, after 30min dropped to 130, an hour in it was down to 60 but in the last few minutes has begun creeping back up and is now 70 


  • 'Find what' was a single word, no special characters, No Formatting parameters, no Search Options selected
  • 'Replace with' is blank with a Language Format parameter.
+45 minutes, we've passed 85 MB of memory usage. Power draw still 'very high' and CPU continuing to hold under 20%.

....if not for the fact that I can't use ANY of my Office programs (one light goes out, they all go out - Seriously, Microsoft?) I would be very tempted to leave this all day and see where it goes. At this point with the memory slowly but surely creeping back up, I'm guessing we're into memory leak territory and it's well and truly FUBAR.
If you upload a copy of a document with which you have the problem and provide details of the Find and Replace that you are trying to perform, I will see if I can replicate the problem.