The error There was a problem sending the command to the program is one of the most common errors encountered by Windows users.
Usually, this error is associated with the Office Package and occurs when users try to open Excel, Word, PowerPoint or Access documents created in older Office versions.
This annoying error affects all Windows versions and has been reported by Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 10 users as well.
Windows sends Dynamic Data Exchange commands (DDE) to Microsoft Office apps, but the OS fails to connect with the application, which triggers this error code.
“There was a problem sending the command to the program” – a common Windows 10 error
OS Windows 10 [Current], Office 2013 Standard 15.0.4569.1506
When my user opens a spreadsheet from within Excel, they open normally. When my user opens a spreadsheet from the Desktop or from One Drive, an error stating that “There was a problem sending the command to the program.” appears. […] The only posts we could find address this issue for OSes leading up to but not including Windows 10.
There was a problem sending the command to the program error usually affects Office applications, but sometimes it can appear while using other applications.
How can I fix the There was a problem sending the command to the program error?
Speaking of this error message, users reported the following problems as well:
- There was a problem sending the command to the program Word 2016, 2013, 2010 – This issue can appear in Word, and if you encounter it, be sure to disable the Dynamic Data Exchange feature.
- There was a problem sending the command to the program AutoCAD, Qlikview, OneDrive – This error can also affect other applications, and if that happens, make sure that you’re not running the applications as an administrator.
- Office Error: There was a problem sending the command to the program Excel 2016, 2013, 2010 – Many users reported this error message in Excel. If you encounter this problem in excel, be sure to disable the hardware acceleration feature and check if that solves the issue.
- There was a problem sending the command to the window, Internet Explorer – Sometimes this error can appear with other applications, and if that happens, be sure to remove any applications that might interfere with your system. In addition, you might want to try disabling your antivirus software.
Solution 1 – Disable your antivirus software
If you’re having problems with There was a problem sending the command to the program error message, the cause might be your antivirus software.
To fix the problem, it’s advised to check your antivirus settings and disable certain features. Users reported issues with Symantec Endpoint Security, but after disabling certain features, the problem was resolved.
If that doesn’t work, you might have to completely disable your antivirus to solve this issue. As a last resort, you might even have to remove your antivirus entirely to fix this problem.
If removing the antivirus solves the issue, you should consider switching to different antivirus software.
There are many great antivirus tools available, but probably one of the best is Bitdefender. This tool offers full protection and it’s fully compatible with Windows 10, so it won’t cause you any issues like this one.
Solution 2 – Disable Dynamic Data Exchange
According to users, There was a problem sending the command to the program error message can appear due to Dynamic Data Exchange feature in Microsoft Office.
According to users, you can completely fix this problem simply by disabling this option in Microsoft Office. To do that, just follow these steps:
- Open the Microsoft Office app which triggers this error > go to Options.
- Click on the File menu > select Options.
- Go to the Advanced tab > scroll down to the General section > uncheck Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). If this option is already unchecked, you should first enable it, restart the Office program, and then disable the option.
- Save the changes and restart the Office program.
Solution 3 – Disable the option “Run as administrator”
Sometimes certain applications won’t work unless you start them with administrative privileges.
However, administrative privileges can sometimes interfere with the application and cause There was a problem sending the command to the program error message to appear.
Many users managed to fix this problem simply by disabling Run as administrator option for the problematic app. To do that, you just need to follow these steps:
- Go to the Start Menu > type the name of the Office program causing this error.
- Right-click on it > select Properties. If the Properties option is not available > select Open the file location > in the new window, click right-click on the Office program > select Properties.
- Go to the Shortcut tab > Advanced > uncheck the option Run this program as administrator.
- Apply the changes.
Solution 4 – Repair Office
According to users, sometimes you might get There was a problem sending the command to the program message because your Office installation is damaged or corrupted.
To fix this problem, it’s advised to repair your Office installation and check if that helps. Repairing the installation is rather simple, and you can do it by following these steps:
- Type Programs and Features in the search box > hit Enter.
- Click on the Office program causing the error or on the entire Office Pack > select Change.
- Click on Repair > click on the Continue button.
If the repair doesn’t solve the problem, you might want to consider reinstalling Office. There are several ways to do that, but the best way is to use uninstaller software.
If you’re not familiar with uninstaller software, these tools are designed to completely remove any application from your PC along with all of its files and registry entries.
As a result, the uninstaller software will completely remove any application from your PC and ensure that any leftover files don’t interfere with your system. If you’re looking for good uninstaller software, we would have to suggest IOBit Uninstaller.
This tool is simple to use and it will completely remove any problematic application from your PC.
Once you remove Office using one of these tools, reinstall it and the problem should be permanently fixed.
Solution 5 – Turn off add-ins
According to users, sometimes Office add-ins can cause this issue to appear. Add-ins can bring new features to Office, but sometimes they can cause issues such as this one to appear.
If you’re having this problem, we advise you to disable add-ins by doing the following:
- Launch the Office program causing the error > go to the File menu > click on Options > click on Add-Ins.In the
- Manage list at the bottom of the screen > click on COM Add-Ins > click on Go.
- Clear one of the add-ins > click OK.
- Restart the Office program. If the issue persists, repeat the steps and select a different add-in in step 3. Clear the add-ins one at a time.
Solution 6 – Disable hardware acceleration
Many applications support hardware acceleration features that bring better performance. However, sometimes this feature can lead to There was a problem sending the command to the program error.
To fix this problem, you need to open the problematic application and disable the hardware acceleration feature. To do that, just follow these steps:
- Go to the File tab > click on Options.
- In the new dialog box, click on Advanced > select Disable hardware graphics acceleration > click OK.
Now, have in mind that, once you disable hardware acceleration, your performance might drop a bit, but you won’t see the error anymore.
Solution 7 – Make similar registry keys agree
According to users, sometimes There was a problem sending the command to the program error can appear due to your registry. Sometimes certain values can interfere with applications and lead to this error.
To fix the problem, you need to modify your registry by doing the following:
- Launch the Registry Editor > go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\<ap>.12shell\Open\<app_specific_key>
- Rename the ddeexec key to ddeexec.old, if the key is available.
- Go back to the command key and change it to use the “%1” /ou “%u” after the fully-qualified application pathname.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command] set to [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open\command]
@=”C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Root\Office16\EXCEL.EXE “%1” /ou “%u”“. The default key is indicated by the “@”.
If you’re having problems editing your registry on Windows 10, take a look at this simple guide that will help you deal with them.
Solution 8 – Remove Windows Compatibility Package
In some cases, There was a problem sending the command to the program error can appear if you have any leftover components from the previous versions of Office.
According to users, the Windows Compatibility Package was the reason for the problem.
This tool is associated with previous versions of Office, and if you have it, be sure to remove it in order to permanently solve this issue.
Solution 9 – Remove the problematic software
According to users, applications such as Tuneup Utilities can sometimes cause this problem to appear. Several users reported that Tuneup Utilities and similar types of software caused this problem on their PC.
If you have any of these applications installed, be sure to remove it and check if that solves the problem.
We hope one of these six solutions helped you to fix the error “There was a problem sending the command to the program“.
As always, in case you’ve come across another workaround that we didn’t list in this article, you can share your experience in the comment section below.
RELATED STORIES YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT:
- Fix: OneDrive is missing from File Explorer
- Excel files won’t open in Anniversary Update
- Fix: Windows Apps Crash Because Of Corrupted User Account
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.