FIX: Excel files won’t open after Windows 10/11 update

by Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and... read more
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Some users reported an Excel-related failure that seems to occur after installing Windows 10 Creators Update. After the system update, certain files can’t be opened with Excel for no apparent reason. It’s needless to say that everything was functioning fine before.

Because this problem may prove as a hard nut to crack, we prepared some solutions that should resolve this issue. If you have issues with Excel files, don’t hesitate and check the list below.

How to resolve Excel files issues in Windows 10 Creators Update

  1. Make sure that the files are supported and not corrupted
  2. Disable Protected view
  3. Repair Excel
  4. Restore Component services values to default
  5. Reinstall Office

1. Make sure that the files are supported and not corrupted

The first step you should take when addressing issues with the specific file formats is to check their eligibility. So, make sure that the file is supported and, also, not corrupted before we move to the additional steps. Moreover, some users reported the Office update was the culprit, rather than the system, so take that into account also.

Updates for Office are too often as same as the ones for Windows in general: full of issues. If you’re positive that the Office update instigated issues, make sure to send a ticket to support. On the other hand, you can update it, since the problem may have been already sorted out with the latest available release.

2. Disable Protected view

Some protective measures are also known to cause issues. Namely, in order to protect your surroundings, Excel (and other Microsoft Office programs, too) may prevent certain files from opening. This looks great on paper since there’s not too much security, to be fully honest. But, things in practice beg to differ. On some occasions, this may completely block Excel from accessing your files. So, make sure to disable it and check for changes.

  1. Open Excel.
  2. Under Files, open Options.
  3. Choose Trust Center.
  4. Click on Trust Center Settings.
  5. Open Protected View.
  6. Disable all 3 options to disable it completely.
  7. Click OK.

That should help you overcome possible issues inflicted by the overprotective Protected View.

3. Repair Excel

Office 365 has its drawbacks but the online support is not one of them. At least, for the majority of users. One of the nifty features that should help you substantially with this Excel issue is Repair. Namely, you can repair an individual program from the package by using Online Repair. In this case, we’re of course referring to Excel. If the update changed something within the Excel installation or even rendered it unusable, you can fix that with this tool.

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Follow the procedure below to repair the Excel:

  1. Right-click the Start menu and open Programs and features.
  2. Right-click Excel and select Change.
  3. You should see the ”How would you like to repair your Office Programs” screen.
  4. Click on the Online Repair and wait for the procedure to finish.
  5. Restart your PC and look for changes.

4. Restore Component services values to default

In addition, besides some common bugs that the update induced into the system, it also may have changed some essential settings. These can impact usage of all 3rd-party programs, including the semi-native Office 365 or older variations of Microsoft Office. There is one option that may impact file issues, and that’s Component security. For that purpose, follow the instructions below to restore it to default values and, hopefully, resolve the issue:

  1. In the Search bar, type dcomcnfg and open it from the list of the results.
  2. Under the Component services in the navigation pane, navigate to Computers > My Computer.
  3. Right-click My Computer and open Properties.
  4. Under the Default Properties tab, make sure that these options have these values:
    • Default Impersonation Level: Identify
    • Default Authentication Level: Connect
  5. Confirm with OK and try accessing the files again.

If this wasn’t the thing that affected the misbehavior of Excel, move on to additional steps.

5. Reinstall Office

If the problem is persistent and you’re certain that it lies in the Office corruption, reinstallation is the next obvious step. However, have in mind that some of your custom settings may be gone once you delete Office. Additionally, you’ll need to redeem your code in order to obtain Office from Microsoft’s official site.

Follow these instructions to reinstall the Office:

  1. Right-click Start Menu and open Programs and Features.
  2. Right-click Office 365 and uninstall it.
  3. Restart your PC.
  4. Go to this Office official site.
  5. Sign in with the Microsoft Account connected to Office.
  6. Select the preferred version, architecture, and language, and click Install.
  7. Once the setup file is downloaded, double-click to start with the installation.
  8. After the installation is finished, activate your Office and you’re good to go.

The brand new installation should relieve you of issues at hand. However, if the system is the culprit and you’re in a hurry to use Excel, there’s nothing else left to do but perform a reset or clean reinstall. We’re perfectly aware that this isn’t the best case scenario for all of us, but sometimes it’s obligatory in order to make the things work as intended. Until then, we hope that Microsoft will release some of the fixes for various issues reported by users around the world.

With this, we conclude this article. Don’t forget to post your questions or alternative solutions in the comments section below. It will mean a lot. Also, in case you’re still unable to resolve the problem, we advise you to contact the Office support as soon as possible and provide them with details regarding the problem you’re experiencing.


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