Fixing "Can't Find Files" Errors

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 7, 2018)

Jamie is having problems starting Excel properly. When he starts the program he gets two error messages: One says that Excel cannot find the file Microsoft.xls, and the other that it cannot find the file Office.xls. After clicking OK to both of the errors, Excel works normally.

When you start Excel, it should do just that—start right up. Error messages like the ones mentioned mean that Excel thinks it should be able to find a couple of files, but it cannot. The two files in this instance are both XLS files, so they are workbooks that Excel thinks it should be able to open.

In doing searches of systems with newly installed versions of Excel, there are no workbooks with the names Microsoft.xls or Office.xls, so I can only conclude that the files were added to the machine by a user, by a third-party program, or by some add-in for Excel.

The first thing to try is to force Excel to re-register itself in the Windows Registry. You do this at the command prompt (or after choosing Start | Run), using a command line like the following:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Excel.exe" /Regserver

The quote marks around the full path are mandatory, and there is a good chance that the path name to Excel.exe will be different on your system than what is shown here. After executing this command line, try starting Excel again and see if you get the same errors; you may very well not get them.

If you continue to get the errors, then search your system for the XLSTART folder. Make sure there is nothing in there, such as a workbook. Anything in the folder is automatically loaded by Excel when it starts, and—if there is a workbook present—it could reference the two missing files.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2375) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Heavy-Duty Footnotes

Word allows you to add footnotes to a document, but they are rather straightforward and simple in their application. If ...

Discover More

Automatically Copying Formatting

It's easy to automatically set the contents of one cell to be equal to another cell. But what if you want to copy the ...

Discover More

Controlling Names of Backup Files

Want to control the name and location of your document backup? Here are some ideas that may help.

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Excel Won't Display Different Windows in the Taskbar

If you want individual Taskbar buttons for each open Excel workbook but cannot seem to get those buttons, the culprit ...

Discover More

Backing Up Your Customized Toolbars

After customizing your Excel toolbars, it is a good idea to make a backup of the file that contains the information. ...

Discover More

Using a Single Instance of Excel with Two Monitors

Working on a computer system that has multiple monitors can help increase your productivity. If you want to work with ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.