I have an inherited spreadsheet that I really don't want to rebuild at the moment. It's a simple small workbook that is small (< 200 rows that don't even reach to AA) and does nothing more than calculate some totals within the same worksheets. No macros, no external data sources, nothing beyond basic formatting of dates, numbers and strings.

I see importing data from CSV/text has created many many workbook connections over time, but even if I delete them all (there were hundreds) it makes no difference in performance.

Even clicking to simply change focus from cell to cell takes 10+ seconds, adorned by the spinning cursor and (Not Responding) appending to the title bar and the application locking up. The program seems to "recover" every time, but efficiency of editing this file is obviously seriously handicapped.

All other files seem fine in Excel, and other programs have no apparent performance issues. I see Excel is chewing up CPU but I'm not sure how to narrow down what process or service is "clashing" with Excel. I tried the same file on other computers and performance is fine. If I turn off all start-up services and run only Excel, performance is restored... until I start using other programs and then it bogs down again.

At this point, I would entertain almost any idea, theory or suggestion that helps pinpoint, solve or work around the issue.

Tomorrow I am going to try within a VM, and see if it has the same issue there.


I had a similar issue with one machine (a laptop) and it turned out that it was down to a number of bad blocks on the hard drive and write timing out and retrying. When I ran scandisk and SMART checks the disk reported a lot of issues. Repairing it and marking the bad sectors helped but in the end we replaced the drive and migrated the users profile.

  • I'll scan for bad sectors and see what I get. Are you thinking disk defrag? This may be a stupid question, but if I choose to "save as", give it a different name and save it in another location, would it not physically live somewhere else? – Dallas Nov 9 '13 at 18:59
  • No - not a defrag. Bad sectors can arise from normal wear and tear or other causes like power off shut downs. Just search google for 'fixing bad sectors', there are lots of how to articles. If there are bad sectors then there may be many of them - saving in another folder may not help you. – Code Uniquely Nov 10 '13 at 9:28
  • No errors or bad sectors. It's a new machine, so I was hoping not. – Dallas Nov 13 '13 at 2:06
  • OK - What happens if you cut the cells from the Sheet and paste them into a new Excel File. – Code Uniquely Nov 13 '13 at 8:47
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    Well you've made a start, You have a sheet that works normally and one that works is an odd fashion. It something to do with the formulae on the sheet, because values only works fine. Save the new one as a template. Cut and paste half the broken sheet over the new one and see its its broken. If not the error is in the other half. If its broken the error is in the half you pasted. Reload the working version and closing in by halving the amount you paste until you get the rows / cells that are causing your problem. Then you can investigate further from there. – Code Uniquely Nov 15 '13 at 5:11

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