Fix: The presentation cannot be opened [Antivirus error]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Have you ever toiled away on a presentation and then, in the morning of the big day comes and it just won’t open?
  • If your antivirus is blocking PowerPoint problem, keep reading, we have a few steps for you to follow.
  • Check out our Powerpoint for similar solutions to any of the problems you may experience.
  • Bookmark our PC Software Hub filled with detailed guides and quick fixes
Antivirus blocking PowerPoint
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Have you ever toiled away on a presentation, perhaps for a new project idea, or for pitching your services to a prospect, and then the morning of the big day comes and it just won’t open?

This can be really devastating especially if the night before, the presentation worked just fine, and you probably even rehearsed, timed it and your workmates gave it a thumbs up.

Sometimes, presentations may not open but send back an error message saying Your antivirus software has blocked the file you were trying to open, then you go blank and don’t understand why this would happen.

This happens when your antivirus program and its signature files are out of date, thus prevents or blocks files from opening, including your presentations.

The error message is sent back for three reasons: incompatibility issues between your antivirus and Office, the file you’re trying to open may be infected with a virus that your antivirus was unable to remove, so treat the file with caution or the file you’re trying to open is damaged.

When you get the antivirus blocking PowerPoint error, there are some quick fix solutions to help you restore it, as well as fix the problems based on the error message, and get back to your presentation in good time.

How can I fix antivirus blocking PowerPoint in Windows 10

1. Uninstall and reinstall antivirus program

fix antivirus blocking powerpoint Uninstall

Sometimes it helps to uninstall your antivirus and reinstall the correct version for Windows 10 operating system. Try this and see if it fixes the antivirus blocking PowerPoint problem, or try the next solution.

Antivirus vendors periodically provide updated virus signature files downloadable from the internet. If your antivirus is outdated or needs an update, connect to the internet and download the latest updates available on your antivirus software vendor.

You can also purchase a new antivirus program altogether.

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2. Use Bitdefender

There are many great security applications on the market, but if you’re looking to protect your Windows 10 PC from online threats, you might be interested in Bitdefender Internet Security 2020.

The application has a friendly and simple user interface that is welcoming to new users. All features are grouped into different categories, and you can access them easily from the menu on the left.

In the Protection section there are a Quick Scan and Vulnerability Scan options.

The Quick Scan option will perform a brief scan of your system and find any potential threats. As for Vulnerability Scan, it can scan your system and check if you have critical Windows updates installed.

In addition, it will also check if your applications are up to date. This feature can also check for weak Windows account passwords and check your Wi-Fi network for vulnerabilities.

3. Recover your files if infected or damaged

how to fix antivirus blocking powerpoint recover

  1. Delete the file from your system
  2. Re-create the file or restore it from a backup if you have one.
  3. If the file is damaged, then it cannot be correctly managed or handled either by the antivirus or Office. In order to use the file again, try and recover it.

Symptoms of a damaged file give back errors when trying to open the presentation such as:

  • This is not a PowerPoint presentation
  • PowerPoint cannot open the type of file represented by ppt
  • Part of the file is missing
  • General Protection Fault
  • Illegal Instruction
  • Invalid Page Fault
  • Low system resources
  • Out of memory

There are several ways to determine whether your presentation is damaged, including opening the file on another computer and see if the same behavior occurs, or try and create a new file and see if it persists.

Note: not all programs have file repair or recovery capabilities.

4. Try a temporary file version of the presentation

  1. Right click the file
  2. Select Rename
  3. Change old file name extension from .tmp to .pptx
  4. Start PowerPoint
  5. In PowerPoint, click File, then select Open
  6. Browse to the folder that has the renamed file
  7. Try opening it in PowerPoint

When you edit a PowerPoint presentation, the program creates a temporary version or copy of the file, named PPT####.tmp (#### represents a random four digit number).

If you find several corresponding files, try opening each to see if one is the temporary copy of your presentation. When issues arise with your presentation, the temporary file remains in the saved file location.

This temporary version or copy of the presentation may be in the same folder as the original presentation, or in the temporary files folder.

Note: If there are no temporary files or copies of your presentation, or they can’t open when you try opening them, try opening using PowerPoint Viewer as described in the next solution.

5. Use PowerPoint Viewer

antivirus blocking PowerPoint

  1. Open Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer
  2. Go to Microsoft (for PowerPoint 2007 Viewer) or to this support page (for PowerPoint 2010 Viewer)
  3. Click Download to install PowerPoint viewer
  4. Click Run
  5. Click to select Click here to accept the Microsoft Software License Terms box
  6. Click Continue
  7. Click OK, if prompted for an admin confirmation, type the password, or click Yes
  8. Open the damaged presentation in PowerPoint viewer by clicking Start-All Apps-Microsoft Office PowerPoint Viewer, then click Accept
  9. Click on the damaged presentation and click Open. If it opens in PowerPoint Viewer, then the copy of PowerPoint on your computer may be damaged.

6. Make a copy of the damaged presentation

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fix power point presentation not working

  • Right click on the presentation
  • Select Copy
  • Go to File Explorer and right click on a blank space and click Paste

If the file cannot be copied, it may be damaged, or resides in a damaged part of the hard disk (see solution 6). If you can copy the file, try opening it in PowerPoint.

7. Run Scandisk on your hard drive

antivirus blocking PowerPoint

  1. Exit all open programs
  2. Click Start
  3. Select File Explorer
  4. Right click the hard disk drive that has the damaged presentation
  5. Click Properties
  6. Select Tools tab
  7. In Error checking, click Check
  8. Select Automatically fix file system errors
  9. Select Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors
  10. Click Start

Note: Scandisk may verify that your presentation is cross-linked, then repairs the presentation, but this doesn’t guarantee it will be read by PowerPoint.

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8. Perform a Clean Boot

  1. Go to the search box
  2. Type msconfig
  3. Select System Configuration
  4. Find Services tab

  1. Select Hide all Microsoft services box
  2. Click Disable all
  3. Go to Startup tab
  4. Click Open Task Manager
  5. Close Task manager then click Ok
  6. Reboot your computer

You will have a clean boot environment after all these steps are carefully followed, after which you can try and check if you can perform a system restore.

After performing the clean boot, do the following three things:

  1. Install, uninstall antivirus program
  2. Run PowerPoint application
  3. Fix an error or problem, in this case to fix antivirus blocking PowerPoint
  4. Reset the computer to start normally after clean boot process

While your computer is in a clean boot environment, try to install or uninstall the program (antivirus), or an update of it, which you had tried before clean boot but failed.

If successful, the issue has been resolved. But, if it fails, then the antivirus blocking PowerPoint issue isn’t caused by an app or service interference.

If you could not run PowerPoint before the clean boot, try and run it again while in clean boot environment. If it runs correctly, or your presentation opens, then the issue is caused by an app or service interference.

If you manage to boot in Safe Mode, perform a clean boot to eliminate any software conflicts that may be causing the antivirus blocking system restore problem in Windows 10.

Performing a clean boot for your computer reduces conflicts related to software that can bring up the root causes of the problem. These conflicts can be caused by applications and services that start up and run in the background whenever you start Windows normally.

Follow the next step described below on how to fix an error or problem after a clean boot.

In order to determine what is causing the antivirus blocking PowerPoint problem after a clean boot, do the following:

  1. Log on using the administrator account
  2. Click Start
  3. In the search box, type msconfig
  4. Select System Configuration from the results
  5. In the System Configuration box, click Services tab
  6. Click to check the Hide all Microsoft Services box

system config powerpoint troubleshooting

  1. Click to select the upper half of the boxes in the Service list
  2. Click OK, and then click Restart
  3. After the restart is complete, check if the antivirus blocking PowerPoint issue persists.

If the problem persists, repeat the above steps but this time clear the lower half of the boxes in the Service list you selected before.

If the problem goes away, repeat the above steps but only select the upper half of the boxes that are unchecked, and repeat the steps until you have selected all boxes.

If the antivirus blocking PowerPoint problem persists when only one service is selected from the Service list, then that is the service causing the problem, after which you can contact the program manufacturer to see if this can be resolved.

Alternatively, run System Configuration utility then click to clear the checkbox for the problem item. Reset the computer to start normally after clean boot process

Once you’re done from the clean boot environment, here’s how to reset your computer to start normally:

  1. Click Start
  2. Go to the search box and type msconfig

fix powerpoint can't be opened msconfig

  1. Select System Configuration
  2. Go to the General tab
  3. Click Normal startup
  4. Click Services tab
  5. Uncheck the box beside Hide all Microsoft services
  6. Click Enable all
  7. Click Startup tab

startup powerpoint error

  1. Click Open Task Manager
  2. In Task Manager, enable all your startup programs
  3. Click OK, if prompted to restart, click Restart

Have any of the solutions here helped fix the antivirus blocking PowerPoint issue? Let us know in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about Powerpoint

  • How can I use Zoom in Powerpoint?

In your Powerpoint open Insert and follow these simple steps to create a Slide Zoom.

  • How do I fix saving errors in Powerpoint?

There are several things you can try, such as removing Active Movie control.

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  • Why has my Powerpoint stopped working?

Most issues where Powerpoint is not responding can be solved by using the repair option in Office.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2017 and was revamped and updated in November 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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