Excel Only Opens in Safe Mode: How to Fix It on Windows 11

Try these easy fixes if Excel only opens in Safe Mode

by Henderson Jayden Harper
Henderson Jayden Harper
Henderson Jayden Harper
Passionate about technology, Crypto, software, Windows, and everything computer-related, he spends most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. He also enjoys... read more
Reviewed by Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Alex Serban
Windows Server & Networking Expert
After moving away from the corporate work-style, Alex has found rewards in a lifestyle of constant analysis, team coordination and pestering his colleagues. Holding an MCSA Windows Server... read more
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  • Excel only opening in Safe Mode prevents the app from launching in normal mode.
  • Corrupt or missing Office files can cause issues with starting Excel.
  • Repairing Office and disabling Excel Add-ins may fix the issue.

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Excel is a resourceful app that offers many features to help users with their sheet documents and other tools. It has a native app that runs on different operating systems. However, users report problems with Excel only opening in Safe Mode on Windows 11.

Also, users complain about the Excel toolbar not working, preventing them from accessing some Excel features.

Why does Excel only open in Safe Mode?

Running into problems with launching apps on your PC indicates that something obstructs the regular launch. It causes Excel not to respond, then recommends starting in Safe Mode.

Furthermore, some notable factors that can cause Excel to only open in Safe Mode are:

  • Corrupt Office installation files – Users can encounter several issues with their Excel client if Microsoft Office files are corrupt or compromised. It causes the services dependent on it to malfunction or not work as they should.
  • Outdated Excel app on your PC – Microsoft releases new updates and patches to improve working performance and fix bugs in the previous versions of the Excel program. If you don’t install those updates, Excel may encounter problems like only starting in Safe Mode.
  • Issues with Excel Add-ins – Add-ins on Excel can become corrupt or malicious, causing problems with Excel and its activities. So, Excel may only start in Safe Mode due to a faulty Add-in on the app. It is because it needs to stop some programs from impeding its processes.

Other factors not mentioned here may be responsible for Excel only opening in Safe Mode on your PC. Nonetheless, we’ll take you through some fixes for the issue.

How do I stop Excel from opening in Safe Mode?

Before proceeding with any advanced steps for fixing Excel, try the following:

Expert tip:


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If the problem persists, proceed with these advanced solutions.

1. Repair Microsoft Office

  1. Press Windows + R key to prompt the Run window, type appwiz.cpl, and click OK to launch Programs and Features.
  2. Right-click on Microsoft Office and tap on Change from the drop-down.
  3. Choose the Quick Repair option on the new page, then click the Repair button.
  4. If the Quick repair option isn’t working, select the Online Repair option.
  5. Restart your PC and repeat step 8 in the first solution.

Repairing Microsoft Office fixes any missing or corrupt app file that may impede Excel from normally starting, causing it to only work in Safe Mode. Read our guide on adding the Run command to the Start menu in Windows 11.

2. End task for Excel on your computer

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Task Manager from the Start menu.
  2. Go to the Processes tab. Find the Excel app from the list, right-click on it, and click End Task from the drop-down menu.
  3. Restart your computer and check if you can start Excel.

Ending tasks for Excel on your PC will stop every background activity on the app prompting issues with how it starts. Check our guide for shortcuts to open Task Manager on your PC.

3. Download the latest updates for Excel

  1. Start Excel in Safe Mode and click on Files in the top-right corner.
  2. Click on Account from the menu on the left, select the Update Options, then click on the Update Now option.
  3. Restart your PC and check if Excel starts without Safe.

If any update is available, it will automatically install it. The update fixes bugs and installs the latest features for Excel to improve its functionality.

4. Start Excel in Safe Mode and Disable the Excel Add-Ins

  1. Press Windows + R key to open the Run dialog box, type excel.exe /safe, then click OK to start Microsoft Excel in Safe Mode.
  2. Click on File in the top menu bar, then click on Options from the menu on the left.
  3. Tap on Add-ins on the right, select Excel Add-ins, then tap on the Go button.
  4. Uncheck the boxes next to the active Add-Ins and click OK to save the changes.
  5. Restart Excel and check if the problem persists.

Starting Excel in Safe Mode fixes interference from third-party apps. Also, disabling the Add-ins will fix any issues with corrupt add-ins.

In conclusion, we have a detailed guide on how to fix Microsoft Excel if it can access files. Also, our readers may be interested in fixing corrupt Excel cells that may cause problems with their activities.

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If the advices above haven't solved your issue, your PC may experience deeper Windows problems. We recommend downloading this PC Repair tool (rated Great on TrustPilot.com) to easily address them. After installation, simply click the Start Scan button and then press on Repair All.

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