We had some issues on new Dells with OEM XP Pro installs. These PCs could not open files by double clicking the file. They would have to open the office application, then do a file | open. We thought it was the novell client. We reinstalled, uninstalled, and reinstalled again. We reinstalled office. We tried accessing the files from a mapping to a windows share on a windows server, and were successful so we really thought it was novell related.

Turns out that once we formatted and reloaded the OS and office, everything works beautifully. There must be something that is installed on factory installed operating systems that causes this problem. As far as we know, there are no Office settings that control this. So before you rack your brains like we did, think about formatting before you roll out new dells.