IMO...yes it can.
It's generally recommended to run Win 7 (any version) with 4GB RAM. That's not what Microsoft says, but it's (I believe) the general consensus that users have agreed upon. Win 7 32-bit will recognize a maximum of 4GB RAM, while other versions will recognize/use anything above 4GB efficiently.
See Chart posted in Answers .
One thing that many people ignore...the biggest users of RAM are often your AV program or internet security suite...and your browser. For every add-on used by a browser, more RAM is used. For every browser window open at the same time...more RAM is used.
For every piece of malware on a system, more RAM is used, probably not in a manner that benefits the system user. This one of the reasons why a system often appears to slow down, chances are that adware (at the best) or more malicious malware (worst case) is at work, using system resources that may have previously been adequate for user usage.
Microsoft Word, or any "suite" of any kind...will probably be a memory hog on a system. The nature of a "suite" is that several applications are bundled together...theoretically, as a more efficient way of doing things. In actuality (IMO), users install 5 programs when they only use 1 or 2...and that's not even taking into accounty the useless, unnecessary "toolbars" that have become so ubiquitous and are soooo unnecessary.
Another type of not only useless, but possibly detrimental software that wastes system resources..."optimizers/registry cleaners." I'm not sure why anyone installs these yet you can reports listing such here every day.
Sooo...you can see that 2GB of RAM really isn't going to go very far if one has any number of the above listed situations . It's hard for Windows to be at its best...under trying circumstances.