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One of my soon-to-be-ex-friends got an Excel file from another friend of his and decided to click on it. It started opening all kinds of files from within Excel. Over 200 and still counting when he called me.

I told him to go to task manager, which showed a LOT of files in the applications tab, but only one Excel.exe in the processes tab. Closing it down there, closed down Excel. I then CrossLooped in to see if I could give him a helping hand.

Each time Excel was re-opened, the mass influx of files started. They were all kinds of files, PDFs, Docs, JPGs, even some spreadsheets. It looked like the end of solitaire, with multiple windows opening (XP) and the counter on the lone Excel button on the task bar counting off the files.

I did the task manager exit routine and went looking for temp files. I CrapCleaned out the system. Made sure I went through the files created in the last hour and deleted anything with a temp anywhere in it. I also deleted the crappy infected/corrupted file from it's place on the desktop (yeah, I know, I yelled for 15 minutes on THAT subject).

Despite a delousing, the restart of Excel, which complained of a deactivated add-in, would start the cascading windows, whether I answered yes or no to that question. Yes, it knew it had a serious crash, but why would it just keep on trying to load the bad file, even when I got rid of it?

But here's the real question. WHERE was it loading from? I went through the backup folder and NOTHING was there!

So what's the process for starting Excel WITHOUT it trying to do a crash recovery? Sort of makes me feel stupid at times.

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Sounds like this goes right down to the Windows Registry and communication with a rogue file. – ricbax Nov 24 '09 at 3:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Appreciate your pointing out the XLStart folder. I thought I looked in there and found it empty, but I could be wrong. At any rate, the icon for Excel on the desktop now reads DO NOT TOUCH and the machine is being carted to my locale two days hence. At that point, I will investigate and report. Thanks every so much for taking the time to chime in.

NOTE: Problem resolved. I HAD emptied the XLStart folder when trying to fix the issue. Today, I got my hands on the machine and was able to fumble my way through the solution. Turns out the user had modified his options and in trying to enter C:\Worksheets into the Load Files From field and entered it into the On Startup, Load All Files In field. And he had other non-worksheet files in the Worksheet folder. Instant load overload.

Took renaming the worksheet folder to get Excel to load semi-properly. It still complained about an add-in for one of the PDF files. Once in there, I changed the setting and opened and closed it a couple of times. Then I renamed the folder back to its proper name and started up Excel. And nothing happened. Success. Thanks to all who helped me out of this jam. GM

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+1 ... well done! :) – Molly7244 Nov 27 '09 at 3:19

But here's the real question. WHERE was it loading from?

probably from the Excel startup directory (XLSTART).

navigate to the following folder and delete all files:

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART

except those files you want to start with Excel, of course.

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TO add to what Molly said; If there is a personal.xls file in the XLStart folder, it could be the culprit. Check to see if it exists, and if so, see if there is any code set to run whenever it is opened. This file, once it is created, will always open in the background as a hidden workbook whenever excel is opened.

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