This article explains how text from a corrupted document in MS-Word may be recovered in versions prior to MS-Word 2007.
It is well known that the binary file format used by MS-Word prior to version 2007 is prone to corruption. Word is supposed to automatically recover text when it encounters a corrupted document, but frequently fails to do so. Instead, Word will "hang" ("not responding") each time attempts are made to retrieve the file.
In such cases, text can often be successfully retrieved by using the converter manually. Here's how:
Although formatting will have been lost, the document's text should appear in the document window.
Either Save the document or use Save As to save with a new name. Re-apply formatting and save the changes.
Note: If "Recover Text from Any File" is not visible in the "Files of type" box, you must install the file converter from the MS-Office installation CD.