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Article ID: 280504 - Last Review: January 9, 2014 - Revision: 19.1

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Summary

There are several reasons why you may experience problems when you start Microsoft Excel. This article discusses how to troubleshoot the cause of the startup problem, and possible remedies to correct the problem. The article also contains links to other Microsoft Knowledge Base articles that discuss known startup problems in greater detail.

Note It is important to keep track of any new software installations or updates that you performed just before you experienced the problem, because these may be directly involved. This information is helpful if this article does not resolve your issue and you need to call Microsoft Technical Support.

More information

When you start Microsoft Excel, you may experience problems for any of the following reasons:
  • Corrupted shortcut to the Excel program
  • Problematic file in Excel startup folder or alternate startup file location
  • Conflict with another program
  • Incorrect version of a core Microsoft Office file
  • Corrupted Excel toolbar file (*.xlb) or Excel .pip file
  • Corrupted add-ins under the Tools menu
  • Corruption in the registry keys
  • Other problems when opening Excel files

Note: It’s a good idea to make sure your computer has the latest updates installed for Windows. Updates often fix problems that occur with software. Before using the repair steps below, try installing updates, restarting your computer, and then launching Excel. You can use the Update your computer (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/update-your-computer-HA010354322.aspx?CTT=1#_Get_updates_manually)  article for more information about manuals updates and automatic updates.

If you receive an error message when you start Microsoft Excel, search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the exact error message at the following Microsoft Web site:
Advanced Search (http://support.microsoft.com/search)
If you do not receive an error message, or if you cannot find specific information in the Microsoft Knowledge Base about the error message, use the following information to troubleshoot the Excel startup problem.

First, consider the scope of the problem. Does the problem occur when you start Excel by clicking a workbook file, or does it occur when you run Excel from the Start menu?

If the problem only occurs when you open an Excel file, refer to the "Other problems when opening Excel files" section. Otherwise, proceed to the next section. 

Corrupted shortcut to the Excel program

To have us create the shortcut for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section.

Fix it for me

To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix it button or link. Click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.
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Fix this problem (http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9668700)
Microsoft Fix it 50268
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Note this wizard may be in English only; however, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.

Note If you are not on the computer that has the problem, you can save the automatic fix to a flash drive or to a CD, and then you can run it on the computer that has the problem.

Next, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.


Did this fix the problem?

Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus) .


Let me fix it myself


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If the problem only occurs when you start the Excel program, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Search, and then click For Files or Folders.
  2. In the Search for files or folders named box, type Excel.exe.
  3. In the Look in list, click My Computer, and then click Search Now.
  4. After the Excel.exe file is found, double-click the file to start Microsoft Excel.

    Note The typical location of the Excel.exe file depends on what version you have installed.

    Microsoft Office Excel 2003

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11

    Microsoft Excel 2002

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10

    Microsoft Excel 2000

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office

    Microsoft Office Excel 2007

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12

    Microsoft Office Excel 2010

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14
If Excel starts as expected, the problem may have been due to a corrupted shortcut to the program. To resolve this problem, create a new shortcut to the Excel program that you can use to start Excel.
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If it does not start as expected, follow the steps to run Excel in Safe mode.

Start Excel in Safe mode

To have us start Excel in Safe mode for you, go to the "Start it for me" section. If you prefer to start Excel in Safe mode yourself, go to the "Let me start it myself" section.

Start it for me

To start Excel in Safe mode automatically, click the Fix it button or link. Click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.
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Fix this problem (http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9668693)
Microsoft Fix it 50270
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Note this wizard may be in English only; however, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.

Note If you are not on the computer that has the problem, you can save the automatic fix to a flash drive or to a CD, and then you can run it on the computer that has the problem.

Next, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.



Let me start it myself

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  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Click Browse, and then locate the folder where Microsoft Excel is installed, as specified earlier in this article.
  3. After you locate the Excel.exe file, click the file to select it, and then click Open.
  4. At the end of the path in the Open box, type a space and then type /s so that the entire line appears similar to the following:
    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /s
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Did this fix the problem?

Check whether Excel is started in Safe mode. If the Excel is started in Safe mode, you are finished with this section. If the Excel is not started in Safe mode, you can contact support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus) . If Excel starts as expected, see the "Additional Troubleshooting" section later in this article for more information.

If Excel still does not start as expected, a conflict with another program may exist. Try to restart Windows in Safe mode, and then perform the previous steps again to run Excel in Safe mode.

For more information about how to start Windows in Safe mode, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
156126  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/156126/ ) Troubleshooting Windows 95 using Safe Mode
192926  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192926/ ) How to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows 98
267288  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/267288/ ) How to perform a clean boot in Windows Millennium Edition
266169  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/266169/ ) How to troubleshoot problems with standby mode, hibernate mode, and shutting down your computer in Windows 2000
281770  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281770/ ) How to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows 2000

Excel does not start in Safe mode and Windows is in Safe mode

If Excel does not start when you use the /s switch and Windows is running in Safe mode, remove Microsoft Office (or stand-alone Microsoft Excel) by using the Add/Remove Programs icon in Control Panel. Please refer to your Windows documentation for more information.

This step may be necessary because when you run both Windows and Excel in Safe mode, Excel is in the most basic mode that is required to start the program. This means that no other programs or files are involved in the Excel startup process. Therefore, the problem may be due to a corrupted Office file that Excel uses to start. If you remove and then reinstall Office (or stand-alone Excel), it should resolve this problem.

For more information about a related issue with incompatible Office 2000 files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
217440  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/217440/ ) You receive error messages when you start Office 2000 programs
If this article does not help, or if restarting Windows in Safe mode resolves the Excel startup problem, see the "Additional troubleshooting" section for more information.

Additional troubleshooting

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Excel starts when you use /s switch

If Microsoft Excel starts as expected when you use the /s switch, "Safe Mode" appears in the Excel title bar. This indicates Microsoft Excel is running as if it were the first time after the initial installation.[Please write the default collapsed section here.]

Now that you have started Excel, use a process of elimination to step through the following areas that Excel bypasses in Safe mode, until the problem is corrected.

Excel startup folders

One of the more common reasons you may experience problems when you start Excel is that Excel is loading a problem file from one of its several different startup folders.

Note The XLStart folder can also be on other profiles. Or, it can be redirected on a server in some instances.

240150  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/240150/ ) How to use the Excel startup folders in Excel 2000
291218  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291218/ ) How to use Excel startup folders in Excel 2002
822107  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822107/[anySimpleType]/ ) How to use startup folders in Excel


Excel toolbar file


Occasionally, the toolbar file for Excel can become corrupted. If this occurs, you may experience problems when you start Excel. In this situation, locate the toolbar file and rename it. After you rename the toolbar file, Excel rebuilds a new toolbar file the next time you start Excel.

For example, if your toolbar file name is JoeUser8.xlb, rename the file to JoeUser8.old. Then, start Excel, and notice that Excel creates a new JoeUser8.xlb file in the same location as the original toolbar file.

For more information about the Excel toolbar file and about how to identify it, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
291074  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291074/ ) Default toolbars and toolbar buttons seen instead of customizations in Excel
For more information about another toolbar problem when you start Excel, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
215366  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/215366/ ) Page fault starting Excel with Page Break menu command
Excel.pip File

Excel remembers what menus and commands have been used and displays these most recently used menus first. Excel hides the unused commands in its expandable menus. Excel stores this usage data along with menu animation settings in a file named Excel.pip.

This file can become corrupted. If this occurs, you may experience problems when you start Excel. In this situation, locate the Excel.pip file and rename it. After you rename the file, Excel rebuilds a new .pip file the next time you start Excel. Use the Windows search feature to locate the Excel.pip file.

Excel Starts When Windows Is in Safe Mode

If the Excel startup problem no longer occurs when Windows is in Safe mode, some other program is causing the problem with the Excel startup process.

Use a process of elimination to determine exactly what program is causing the problem. If you are unsure of how to do this, contact your Windows vendor for more information about how to eliminate each individual program that loads on Windows startup.

For more information about how to troubleshoot the Windows startup process, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
281965  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281965/ ) How to troubleshoot using the Msconfig utility with Windows 98
281995  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281995/ ) How to troubleshoot using the Msconfig utility in Windows Millennium Edition
281770  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/281770/ ) How to perform clean-boot troubleshooting for Windows 2000
310353  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310353/ ) How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state

Corrupted add-ins under the Tools menu

On the Tools menu, click Add-Ins. Click to clear the check boxes for any add-ins that are selected, and then click OK.

Delete the registry keys for the COM add-ins

COM add-ins can be installed in any location. Programs that interact with Excel install COM add-ins. To resolve issues that may occur with Excel, delete the registry keys for the COM add-ins, and then restart Excel.

To have us delete the COM add-ins registry keys for you, go to the "Delete it for me" section. If you prefer to delete the COM add-ins registry keys yourself, go to the "Let me delete it myself" section.

Delete it for me



To delete the COM add-ins registry keys automatically, click the Fix it button or link. Click Run in the File Downloaddialog box, and follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.
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Fix this problem (http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9668707)
Microsoft Fix it 50269
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To add the COM add-ins registry keys back automatically, click the Fix itbutton or link. Click Runin the File Downloaddialog box, and follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.
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Fix this problem (http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=9668872)
Microsoft Fix it 50272
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Note this Fix it solution works for all languages. However, for some languages, the wizard text may be in English

Note if you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

Next, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.



Let me delete it myself

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Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
To manually delete the COM add-ins registry keys, follow these steps:
  1. Exit all Office programs.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  3. Locate the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel\AddIns
  4. Click Addins, and then click Export on the File menu.
  5. Name the file "XLaddinHKCU.reg," and then save the file to the desktop.
  6. Select the AddIns subkey, click Delete on the Edit menu, and then click Yes.
  7. Locate the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins

    Note: If you are using a 64 bit Office (2010 only)
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins
  8. Click Addins, and then click Export on the File menu.
  9. Name the file "XLaddinHKLM.reg," and then save the file to the desktop.
  10. Select the AddIns subkey, click Delete on the Edit menu, and then click Yes.
  11. Exit Registry Editor.
  12. Start Excel.
If the problem is resolved, a COM add-in program was causing the problem. You can examine the registry keys under Addins in Registry Editor to determine the manufacturer of the add-in. Then, you can contact the manufacturer for updates.
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Did this fix the problem?

Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus) .

Corruption in the registry keys

Exit Excel and rename the following registry keys, for instance rename excel to excel.old. When you start Excel again it will trigger a repair to set your settings to the default settings.

You can remove some registry keys to reset customized user settings for your Microsoft Office programs.


To have us reset the customized user settings for you, go to the "Reset them for me" section. If you prefer to reset the customized user settings yourself, go to the "Let me reset them myself" section.

Reset them for me



To reset the customized user settings automatically, click the Fix it button or link. Click Run in the File Download dialog box, and follow the steps in the Fix it wizard.
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Remove all Excel custom registry keysReplace previously removed Excel custom registry keys
Fix this problem
Microsoft Fix it 50274
Fix this problem
Microsoft Fix it 50275

Note this wizard may be in English only; however, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of Windows.

Note If you are not on the computer that has the problem, you can save the automatic fix to a flash drive or to a CD, and then you can run it on the computer that has the problem.

Next, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.



Let me reset them myself

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Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322756/ ) How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
Note Removing the following registry keys may reset customized user settings for your Microsoft Office programs.

Excel 2003

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel

Excel 2002

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Excel
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Excel

Excel 2000

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Excel
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Excel
When you restart Excel, a repair operation is triggered to set the settings to the default settings.

Excel 2007

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel

Excel 2010

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Excel

If this procedure does not resolve the issue, you can restore the original settings. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Exit Excel.
  2. Delete the newly created Excel registry keys.
  3. Rename the "Excel.old" keys "Excel."
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Did this fix the problem?

Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support (http://support.microsoft.com/contactus) .
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Other problems when opening Excel files

If Excel experiences problems only when you open specific Excel files, you must use a different approach to troubleshoot the issue. You may need to do anything from disabling macros to rebuilding the workbook.

For more information, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
820741  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/820741/ ) How to recover data from damaged workbooks in Excel 2002 and in Excel 2003
179871  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/179871/ ) Methods for recovering data from damaged Excel 2000 workbooks
213951  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/213951/ ) How to troubleshoot the source of the problem when you save files in Excel 2000 and they become corrupted

References


Thanks to MVP Jan Karel Pieterse (https://mvp.support.microsoft.com/profile=18E4F087-9E1D-481C-9A93-512C78964B5F) for contributing to the Fix it solutions contained in this article.

For additional information about startup folders, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
822107  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/822107/ ) How to use startup folders in Excel 2003
291218  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291218/ ) How to use Excel startup folders in Excel 2002
240150  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/240150/ ) How to use the Excel startup folders in Excel 2000
For more information about Excel 2002 Safe Mode, click Microsoft Excel Help on the Help menu, type about office safe mode in the Office Assistant or the Answer Wizard, and then click Search to view the topics returned.

Applies to
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2007
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2003
  • Microsoft Excel 2010
Keywords: 
kbmsifixme kbfixme kbstartprogram kbtshoot kbhowto KB280504
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