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In our environment, is read-only and lives in the Work Group Templates network file share.
Some users have, for reasons unclear, a file in their User Templates folder (or %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Templates folder; not sure if they're one and the same folder) which Word prefers to use.
Do you protect the styles in your template with the Protect Document option?
This might be part of your solution: for every user, create a file (could be an empty file) in their User Templates folder and give the user no permissions to it.
– or, rather, these days – is the database that stores such settings.
(To restore the renamed Normal.dotm, check out this suggested solution.) “This was not an intentional change and we (the Word product team) are working to understand both the cause as well as what steps customers can take to either avoid or recover from this,” the Microsoftie said.
(Well, maybe Read Attributes, Read Extended Attributes, and Read Permissions.) Perhaps this will force Word to look in the Work Group Templates network file share, and will prevent users from being able to save changes.
If you’re worried about users being knowledgeable/devious enough to try to delete the file, lock down permissions on the User Templates folder.
This means a new and empty is created when Word is restarted after the update is applied, giving people the impression their customizations have been lost.
Complaints are landing on the Microsoft Office forum page, here.