Windows Explored

Everyday Windows Desktop Support, Advanced Troubleshooting & Other OS Tidbits

Posts Tagged ‘Office’

The Case of the Slowly Opening Or Unresponsive Office Files

Posted by William Diaz on August 15, 2012

After a recent security update for our XP workstations, a couple complaints came in where user’s were having difficulty opening Microsoft Office files across the network. In some cases, the file would open, but only after a delay of a few minutes. In other cases, the file would not open at all, causing the Office application (Word, Excel) to become unresponsive and hung up. The files were not ridiculously large, and opening the same files locally did not present a problem. Identifying the cause was a simple matter of turning to Process Explorer and examining the stack of the working program thread:


You can see the stack growing with a couple dozen calls to some component named GKExcel.dll. Turning on the Lower Pane to view DLLs (View > Lower Pane View > DLLs), I can see it is described as Microsoft Component, but the description is too generic to make out the purpose:


However, one of the functions may allude to what its purpose is and how it got here. Searching FValidateExcelFile takes me to this MS KB article Excel workbooks may open slowly over the network:

After you install MS11-021 and the Office File Validation (OFV) Add-in for Microsoft Office 2003 (KB 2501584), workbooks stored in a network location open more slowly over the network in Excel 2003 than they did without the OFV installed. The decrease in performance depends on the size of the workbook and bandwidth of the network, and in some scenarios, can seem to cause Excel to crash.

The issue is not specific to Excel, however. Word files were taking several minutes to open as well. Resolving is a simple matter of uninstalling the Microsoft Office File Validation Add-in or modifying the registry to make an exception for the application opening the file. To do this:

  • Go to HKCU\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\<ver>\<application>\Security.
  • Create a new key called FileValidation
  • Create a DWORD value called EnableOnLoad with a value of 0

If uninstalling across the enterprise, then: msiexec / x {90140000-2005-0000-0000-0000000FF1CE} / quiet.


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The Case of the Missing SharePoint “Connect to Outlook” Action

Posted by William Diaz on December 1, 2011

This one originally came to me as a complaint from a single user about his inability to connect one of his SharePoint calendars to Outlook 2003. In most SharePoint lists, there is an Actions menu that should contain this option:
Often, this problem is resolved by installing the SharePoint Services Support for Office and/or simply repairing Office. You can also find a good guide to troubleshooting this issue here. But none of these options were resolving the issue. Additionally, as I began to investigate to see if the problem could be recreated on various tech workstations, I realized that the impact was not isolated to a single workstation, but almost all workstations in our helpdesk. Of the systems that were not affected, one of them resided on my desk, a lab PC that had since departed from the standard Windows XP Pro image we deploy firm-wide. Read the rest of this entry »

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Repair Office To Fix Issues With Internet Explorer

Posted by William Diaz on October 12, 2011

In technical support, there is a common knee-jerk reaction when something doesn’t work in Microsoft Office: run a repair of the product or reinstall it. My colleagues have probably spent several hours combined going through this step countless times. Often (often is 99% of time) this fails to resolve whatever issue they are encountering. Over the course of a few years of troubleshooting Office, a repair has only corrected an issue once ( or maybe twice). In our case, it’s the nature of the custom environment that is chock-full-o-add-ins. Other times it is some weird, unexplained element of a document, spreadsheet, or whatever that just doesn’t want to work. Those can be rather complex to figure out sometimes.

That being said, sometimes repairing MS Office fixes issues in areas you might not otherwise think.  For example, I recently setup a small document library in SharePoint, but while trying to edit the files from Internet Explorer some of the tech workstations were reporting the following error: “Windows Internet Explorer – ‘Edit Document’ requires a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible application and Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or greater.”
Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t Dismiss That Error

Posted by William Diaz on April 28, 2011

Instead, click the click here:
MOOErr1 Read the rest of this entry »

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Inside Windows – Office Repair vs. Reinstall

Posted by William Diaz on February 3, 2011

All of you have at one point or another had to troubleshoot an issue with Office that required you to repair or reinstall Office. Have you ever wondered why these two options exist and what they do differently from the other? The answer is in a single parameter attached to the command and this parameter can sometimes make all the difference.

Microsoft KB article 298027 states:

There is a subtle difference between these two options and you will want to make sure you choose the appropriate option based on your situation. In either case, the Windows Installer /f command line switch is being called. The difference is in the parameters that are being attached to the /f switch.

Note You can also perform a Repair procedure from any of the Office programs by clicking Detect and Repair on the Help menu. This procedure is the same procedure that is performed when you click the Detect and repair errors in my Office installation command in Maintenance mode. Read the rest of this entry »

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Troubleshooting Office 2007/2010 Files

Posted by William Diaz on December 13, 2010

The Office 2007/2010 native file format is now xml based. What does this mean to you troubleshooters? Earlier versions of Office files, for example Word, saved all the formatting, text, images, etc as a single binary file. With the latest Office offering, all those document “elements” are now created as xml files and then compressed into a single file. To see this, take any docx, pptx, xlsx file and change the extension to zip. When you open with Windows compressed files or WinZip, you will see different folders that contain several xml files, which contain the formatted text, pictures or other media. Here is an example of one of my blog Word 2010 articles dissected:
Read the rest of this entry »

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