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Fixing Startup problems

This article was used by Microsoft to create a set of automatic fixes (Microsoft FixIt).

Unfortunately, many Excel users sometimes start experiencing problems with their Excel: File not found errors, compile errors, GPF's, Excel refusing to load, files which do not open, etcetera.

This is a list of things-to-try when Excel exhibits problems.


Diagnostic tools

Microsoft have created a tool that searches your Office installations for known problems. It is called The Office Configuration Analyzer Tool (OffCAT).

You can download and install OffCAT v1.2 from the Microsoft Download site. You can either extract the files from OffCAT.zip or you can run the installer using OffCAT.msi. We recommend using OffCAT.msi because it contains system requirement checks that ensure OffCAT will properly function on your computer.

OffCAT is designed to be used by anyone that has Office installed on their computer. This includes home users, small business people, Help Desk professionals, Microsoft support engineers, and IT administrators. Microsoft expects everyone to have the skillset required to follow the directions provided in the list of detected issues. However, the Configuration Details report is mostly aimed at moderate to advanced users that can understand information in the registry, event logs, Windows services and other places in Windows outside of the Office applications.

Windows 10 related problems

With Windows 10 many problems have been reported in the newsgroups and fora regarding Office. Microsoft has written an elaborate article on the known issues and their possible resolutions here: Known issues with Office and Windows 10

Excel shows errors during startup or behaves odd

Try opening Excel without any addins or hidden workbooks

Use the Automation switch to start Excel without loading addins or workbooks from the XLSTART folder:

Click Start, Run,
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /Automation

Quotes mandatory, Note you may have to change the path.

If your error disappears, either an add-in or a (hidden) workbook that is loaded upon Excel's start bothers you.


Locate the offending file using the following steps:

 Excel Add-ins.

  1. Tools, Add-ins
  2. note which are checked
  3. Uncheck all (but one)
  4. Restart XL
  5. If no error, check the next one and repeat from step 4

Got the error? uncheck the one you last checked.

Com Addins

Another type of addins are COM addins. The way to get at these add-ins differs per Excel version.

Excel 2007/2010/2013

  1. Click the Office button/File tab and select Excel Options.
  2. Click the Add-ins tab
  3. In the dropdown near the bottom, select "COM Add-ins" and click Go.

Excel XP to 2003

  1. Rightclick a commandbar and choose customise
  2. Click the commands tab
  3. Find an entry in the tools section called "COM addins"
  4. Drag to any toolbar or menu
  5. Close customise dialog and click that menu item
  6. Uncheck all shown COM addins

If your problem still persist, some COM addins are not shown in the userinterface and can only be unloaded from the registry. Check the registry, at this location:


Warning: Backup your registry before making ANY changes!!!

Not an add-in? It may be a (hidden) workbook causing trouble then.

Check workbooks that load at startup.

  1. Find your XLSTART folder (On Windows XP it may be a path like this:
    C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART
  2. Move all files out of it;
  3. Open them one by one (in Excel) and find the one with the error;
  4. Move the others back.

You can also check whether a folder has been set to load at startup and repeat the above for that folder.

 Excel 2007/2010/2013:

Office button or File tab, Excel Options, Advanced tab:

Office button, Excel Options, General tab in Excel 2007/2010

Office button/File tab, Excel Options, General tab in Excel 2007/2010/2013

Excel 2003 and older:

Tools, Options, General, "Alternate Startup file location" or "At startup, open all Files in:" (The text depends on your version of Excel).

Tools, Options, General tab in Excel 2003

Open Excel in Safe mode

Start, Run,
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /Safe

The safe switch ensures Excel starts without opening any addins or using your menu customisations. If this works, chances are that your toolbar customisation file is corrupt. Locate all files with extension .xlb and rename the extension(s) to something like .old
Now try and start Excel again.

In Windows 7, the xlb file is found by entering this into Explorer's address bar:


Tip: You can also start Excel in safe mode by holding down the control key whilst you double-click the Excel icon.

Removing Excel's registry entries

Sometimes all actions listed above don't help to resolve the problem. For various users, removing Excel's main registry entry in Windows Registry solved the problem.

Warning: All cautions about tampering with the registry apply!!

As a last resort, remove the entire root folder of Excel from the registry (it should be recreated when you launch Excel). This is the registry key to remove:


First find this key and export it to your desktop by right-clicking on the "Excel" entry in the folder tree and selecting Export.

Exporting Excel's main entry in the registry

When the export is done, right-click the entry in the tree again and choose Delete:

Deleting the Excel registry key

Now restart Excel and see if that has helped.

Opening Files From Desktop Or Explorer Fails

Reregister Excel with Windows

If you have trouble loading Excel files by double-clicking, the shell registration for Excel may have to be re-written. How to do that depends on your Excel version.

Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013.

In older versions of Excel, the /Regserver switch was used to write the shell registration for Excel. This was true up to Excel 2003, and was removed in Excel 2007. For Excel 2013, 2010 and 2007 you need to run setup/repair (running the Office setup in Repair mode from "Programs and Features", aka "Add/Remove Programs").

Excel 2003 and before

Click Start, Run and enter:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /Regserver

This generally fixes trouble with opening Excel files from the desktop or by (double)clicking them in Explorer.

Ignore other applications

Check in Tools, Options, General tab whether "Ignore other applications" is set. Uncheck it.

Excel 2007/2010/2013

Ignore other apps in Excel 2007/2010/2013

Excel 2003

Ignore other apps in Excel 2003 and older

Trouble caused by antivirus software

NAV has shown to cause "Excel caused an invalid page
fault in module VBE6.DLL".
You might try disabling the Office plug in of NAV.

Trouble caused by corrupt temporary files

Try cleaning your TEMP folder:

In Windows 95/98 and ME

Delete all files in C:\Windows\Temp

In Windows NT/2000/XP

Find and Select C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\local settings\temp
and delete all files in there.

When a workbook contains controls from Excel's control toolbox temporary files are created in that folder. If such a temporary file is somehow corrupted it may prevent the workbook it belongs to from working normally and sometimes even causes Excel to crash.

Select Start, run and type %temp% and hit OK to directly open your temp folder.

Disabled files

As of Excel XP and 2003, files may have been disabled when Excel thought them to be the cause of a crash.

If you have had a problem with opening a file, Excel may have labeled it as suspect.

Excel 2007/2010/2013

Select the Office button (File tab in 2010) and click Excel Options. Click the Add-ins tab and use the dropdown:

Disabled Items in Excel 2007/2010

Disabled Items in Excel 2007/2010/2013

Excel XP, 2003

In Excel, select Help | About Microsoft Excel.
Click the button near the bottom labeled "Disabled Items..."

Disabled items in Excel 2003 and older

Disabled Items in Excel 2007/2010/2013

If the offending file is listed, select it and click Enable. The file you just enabled may of course cause Excel to crash again, click here to find some pointers on how to open corrupt Excel files.

Other resources

Do you have one particular file that causes trouble? Check out this page.

Microsoft Fix-it

Microsoft has recently added two pages on this subject, both with so-called "Fix-it" solutions for several elements stated above.

Excel 2003 and older:

How to troubleshoot startup problems in Excel

Excel 2007 and up:

How to troubleshoot Excel 2007 startup problems

With Windows 10 many problems have been reported in the newsgroups and fora regarding Office. Microsoft has written an elaborate article on the known issues and their possible resolutions here: Known issues with Office and Windows 10

Some information on startup switches:


What other people have to say about this subject:




Showing last 8 comments of 337 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Matt (30-12-2017 00:15:38) deeplink to this comment

No it is crashing again. I recently installed Hitman Pro and reading the comments above it is probably the cause.

Comment by: Jim Fox (28-2-2018 07:10:59) deeplink to this comment

Re: Office (Excel) 2013.
I now have a Special Paste selecting Unicode Text copy problem when I copy and Special Paste 'data' from a website into Excel 2013. It only copies the data as Text and NOT Unicode Text.
It worked up until a couple of days ago and I had used it for several years.
I have Windows 7 Home Premium and DO NOT have Skype.
Is there a way to fix this or do I have to reload Office 2013 to fix it?
I await your advice.
Thanks & Best Regards,

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (28-2-2018 14:00:05) deeplink to this comment

Hi Jim,

Can you share a sample URL from which you copy and paste? (and which bit you copied)

Comment by: m subbarayudu (30-8-2018 11:28:07) deeplink to this comment

excel problem copy , paste,insert not working

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (30-8-2018 12:12:47) deeplink to this comment

Hi subbarayudu,

This sounds a lot like this issue. I'm afraid I have no more information than you can find in the discussion referred to below:


Comment by: Samar (24-11-2020 08:18:00) deeplink to this comment

I have one file Which works Perfectly Fine in my desktop .
When i share it through email, Box , Zoom or whatever method , the other person have of error of sheet activation failed .
The sheet has code in workbook_open
Can you please guide me what can be wrong in this

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (24-11-2020 11:04:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Samar,

Sometimes it helps to move the code inside the Workbook_Open event to a sub in a normal module and then call that sub from Workbook_Open using e.g.:

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    Application.OnTime Now,"TheNewSub"
End Sub

Comment by: D-M (5-2-2021 02:57:00) deeplink to this comment

No questions at all - just wanted to send some appreciation to you for creating this guide. Cleaning out the registry of add-ins (1 of) worked. You have saved me a whole bunch of future swearing and punching of keyboards.

Excellent work sir!

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