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How to Stop Microsoft Excel From Crashing

If you are getting Microsoft Excel crashes, locks up, or Excel is running extremely slow, we have several suggestions that have a very good chance of fixing

To summarize the fixes:

  • Remove COM add-in
  • Eliminate Animation
  • Unload other running programs
  • Repair Office

We often get support calls where the user says Microsoft Excel has just crashed for the Nth time, or all of sudden has locked up. Sometimes we calls saying Excel is running slower than a turtle (no offense turtles).  We do the following steps frequently with great success. No guarantees however.  And see out comment at the bottom for when we were not successful on our own PC

The following are the steps we recommend you do, in order of ease of doing:

Remove COM add-is from Microsoft Excel

  • There is no nice way to say it. COM add-ins are bad. Very, very bad.  You might be OK with one installed.  If you have two running, consider that you are walking on thin ice. Three or more?  That's like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Something bad will happen. 
  • Our add-ins are not COM add-ins. They are Excel VBA add-ins. Which means Excel manages memory. With COM add-ins, Excel and the COM add-ins seem to fight over memory. And crash....
  • To remove COM Add-ins:  Click the File Tab, Options, Add-ins, change "Manage Excel Add-ins" to "Manage COM Add-ins" and then click the GO button. If you see Adobe or Bluetooth as COM add-ins, they almost always are never needed and just sneak onto PCs. The best approach is to uncheck any you see and see if Excel stops crashing, or at least becomes very stable.  Then add back only those that are business essential.  No time saving COM add-in is business essential if it causes Excel to slow down, hang, or crash....
  • After removing COM add-ins it is best to reboot your PC.

Eliminate Microsoft Excel Animation

  • Strangely, this is a new one to us as a cause of Excel problems. However, it has probably always been there. The first thing we do in Excel on a new PC is to turn animation off. So we don't have any problem.  We had one of our users discover that Excel animation was the cause.  Looks pretty, but Excel crashes are bad....
  • To turn off animation, do Office Button or File Tab then Options. Under the general section, uncheck animation:
  • Close and restart Excel.

Unload other running programs

  • We had a user tell us that one of our add-ins was taking 20-30 minutes to run. To say the least, we were surprised.  We had him reboot his PC and immediately try.  The runtime was less than 5 minutes (he was processing 200,000 rows of data).  It seems he had a dozen or so other software programs open. For example Outlook, Word, IE, .... Each program demands a share of runtime every second. So, Excel only got like one tenth of what it wanted.

Repair Office

If you still have trouble after doing our recommendations, sometimes the only recourse is to un-install and re-install Office.  And we have an instance to us where the re-install didn't solve.  We even tried hacking the registry and few other things we'll never tell which didn't work.   The only cure for us was to re-image our hard drive of the bad PC from an image a month before the problem started.  If that is not possible for you, then backing up everything and reformatting your hard drive is likely the only cure.   If you do, check Excel after each software install.

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