Within our corporate environment; we use Folder Redirection for profile folders (e.g. those in Group Policy, AppData\Roaming, Desktop, Documents, etc).

We have enabled Always Offline Mode and ensured a conflict resolution policy of '1' is effective, to give precedence to a local copy, over a remote copy, in the event of a conflict.

Our user base has begun reporting that Microsoft Excel 2016 is being slow to launch (on Windows 10, though not sure if this is relevant at the moment). We've been able to verify that does indeed appear to be the case, with launches taking anywhere between thirty seconds to two minutes.

An extensive amount of troubleshooting has already taken place and we've been able to conclude the following steps are ineffective at resolving the problem:

  • disabling Hello Cortana;
  • disabling DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange);
  • disabling Hardware Acceleration;
  • disabling addins;
  • clearing recently opened items;
  • defaulting printer from a network instance to local (i.e. PDF Printer);
  • repairing installation, via Programs and Features;
  • setting \\SERVER\Home (inclusive of sub-folders) as a Trusted Location;
  • granting Domain Users Full Control on Share Permissions.

We've been able to verify the following:

  • profile folders are indeed working from Offline Files, and online/latency is not a factor;
  • there is no configuration to open X, Y, Z documents when Excel launches;
  • a launch of Excel into Safe Mode (Ctrl + launch) is instantaneous;
  • the slowness is only experienced on the first instance in Normal Mode, subsequent launches are instantaneous.

Potential Factors:

  • Realtek Audio Driver (sounds odd, I know) has been responsible for one of the reports, the driver was uninstalled and there's been no recurrence. However, in other cases this does not appear to be a resolution;
  • Permissions Issue (Server-side or Sync Center) -

Process Monitor has suggested a permissions issue is responsible, for a large duration of the launch time it reported

Class:          File System
Operation:      CreateFile
Result:         ACCESS DENIED
Path:           \\SERVER\Home\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\Excel15.xlb
Desired Access: Generic Read/Write
Disposition:    Open
Options:        Synchronous IO Non-Alert, Non-Directory File, Open No Recall
Attributes:     n/a
ShareMode:      Read
AllocationSize: n/a

When browsing the file locally and attempting to delete it, it does throw a permissions error. However, the file on the server shows the user has full permissions over it.

As Offline Files does not show a permissions tab I'm unsure whether permissions are being lost in the transition to Offline Files? or if additional server-side permissions are required (though what and why?) or if this is simply a red-herring?

Any ideas?


Following further investigation, we identified it was possible to resolve this issue by:

  1. Mapping "\\SERVER\Home" as a Drive (e.g. J:);
  2. Browsing J: through \AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel
  3. Deleting Excel15.xlb

Our conclusion is that this appears to be some description of UAC Elevation/Namespace/Permissions issue.

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