FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Microsoft Word thinks my disk is full and I can’t save! What do I do?
A: Here’s the background and a solution:

I’m working on a Word document. I’ve been saving periodically during the last four hours I’ve been working on it (last time was a half hour ago) and now, suddenly, it’s telling me that the Macintosh HD is full. However, when I look at the bottom of the Finder window or click on Get Info… it appears that I have 17.7 GB free on my hard disk.

Any idea why MS Word doesn’t think I have space? Any ideas on how to convince it that I do have enough disk space without having to close the document and lose my edits???

I also tried saving it to a memory stick, but MS Word thinks that the memory stick is also full, even though it isn't.

The short answer

What you can do is select everything in your original document, copy it to the clipboard, select New Blank Document from the File menu to create a new blank document window, and then paste your text into the new document window. Next, close the original document (you might want to hold your breath while you do this). You won't be able to save changes, but closing the original document should, in turn, close many of the temporary files. Now you should be able to Save the new document.

After your document is saved you can breathe again -- then make a backup of the new document.

To recap:

  1. select everything in your original document
  2. copy it to the clipboard
  3. select New Blank Document from the File menu to create a new blank document window
  4. paste your text into the new document window
  5. close the original document (you might want to hold your breath while you do this). You won't be able to save changes, but closing the original document should, in turn, close many of the temporary files.
  6. Save the new document

The long answer

and some insight into why this might be happening.

See: http://ittimes.ucdavis.edu/may2000/348.html