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How to remove COM Add-ins

COM add-ins are compiled add-ins. They are created outside of Excel by special programs and designed to work within Excel. Excel frequently runs into memory problems if COM add-ins are installed.  They can cause regular add-ins not to work correctly, as Excel runs out of memory.  We have even seen a case where Excel's own calculation functions return errors and formulas in Excel return errors. 

All of our add-ins are Excel add-ins and are not COM add-ins.  Excel add-ins are designed to work within Excel and Excel manages all memory. We have had all of our add-ins (80+) loaded at one time and working fine without any memory issues.  Excel add-ins do not cause memory problems. COM add-ins cause memory problems.

We strongly recommend you do not install any COM add-ins. Unfortunately, they sneak into Excel without permission.  And, some Excel add-in makers release their products as COM add-ins and don't tell you.  Check before you buy......

The number one COM add-ins that sneaks in is an Adobe COM add-in.  We also see frequently see a BlueTooth COM add-in and a Snag-It COM add-in sneak in.  It is best to check after each software install to see if any COM add-ins got secretly put into Excel.

The number one thing you can do:  If you have any COM add-ins installed, un-install them unless they are absolutely required.  To un-install COM add-ins:

  • If you are using Excel 2003, download our free Add-in Information Lister and use it to un-install the COM add-ins.
  • If you are using Excel 2007, click the round Office Button, Excel Options, Add-ins, change the dropdown box to COM add-ins and click Go.
  • If you are using Excel 2010-2021 and Office 365, click File, Options, Add-ins, change the dropdown box to COM add-ins and click Go.

February 5, 2013 update:

We have found that the above will not remove all COM add-ins.  Some avoid the Microsoft Excel COM add-in dialog and must be removed manually.  To do so, you will need to edit the registry.  In the RUN box type "RegEdit" and click OK.  Then navigate to the following registry keys:

  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins

With Excel closed, click on each entry expands it to show its various settings or keys. Click on the "LoadBehavior" of each.  Change the setting to zero (0).  We have noticed that it sometimes takes multiple changing of the keys to zero until the setting holds.  Somehow these programs reset the key.  An alternative is to click on the entry on the left side of the registry and delete it and all its keys.  Be sure to backup the registry before deleting any entry.

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