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I am working on a Windows Thin PC build. This build is going to be used to access virtual apps. One of these applications is a somewhat crazy proprietary software. An option in this software is to rightclick and chose 'view in excel' and, thus, generate a report from certain windows in the program.

We are not installing Excel locally on these machines. What I'm trying to do is find a way to redirect this request to open Excel to either the virtual app of Excel that will be available or the Excel viewer that we are installing on these machines.

I'm hoping that the company that produced the software did not hard code the 'you must use only excel that lives at _ location!' into the program. I am cautiously optimistic that they did not as this program can intelligently use Excel 03, 07 or 2010 without any changes on our end. Is there a way to force this program to open these reports in Excel Viewer. Excel Viewer is set to the default program to open this type of file.

Honestly at this point I'm not entirely sure even how to even word the search for resolutions. So any suggestions in that realm would be appreciated.

EDIT: As suggested by a user below. I am getting a message when trying to load these reports using the 'view in excel' option in the program. This message states that the program cannot find excel. I have tried faking the program out by forcing the excel viewer to install into the directory and with the file name Excel.exe but this has not worked.

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Are you getting any particular error message? You don't really state whether or not you've actually tried seeing if the app was hard coded or not. Please update the question with details as to what sort of problems you're actually getting and any error messages that may accompany the problems. – music2myear Dec 8 '11 at 20:52
To find out what it's trying to do can use the Sysinternals utility Process Monitor ( – Brian Dec 8 '11 at 21:33
up vote 0 down vote accepted

If the application can work with different versions of Excel (Excel 97, 2003, XP, 2007, 2010, etc) it would not be using the "hard code" method you fear because each of those versions have a different executable path. For instance, Office 2010 is technically Microsoft Office version 14, and so the path to excel.exe in Office 2010 is \Microsoft Office\Office14\excel.exe. The part changes from version to version.

Programs would "know" where to send requests for Excel apps by asking the OS what sort of app is default for handling .xls (or .xlsx, .csv, etc) files.

If there are no other apps installed for viewing Excel files, an Excel Viewer app should be the default app. You may need to compare the registry entries on a computer running the full version of Excel to make sure the system knows to call the Viewer the same way it would normally call the full version of the app.

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" would not be using the "hard code" method you fear because each of those versions have a different executable path." That was my thought as well, I haven't yet been able to find documentation on a registry file but I guess that's what regmon is for right? – Nahkki Dec 8 '11 at 20:53
Regmon is a good place to start. But you may want to just check the entries for the particular file type (.xls probably) in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, which should have instructions for any recognized file type on the system. – music2myear Dec 8 '11 at 21:42

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