Crashing when Searching

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 6, 2016)

Pavlos reports a problem he is encountering when searching for files using Excel. In the Open dialog box of Excel you can use the search tool to find workbooks on disk. In Pavlos' case, the tool locates the desired workbooks correctly, but then always gives an error message that it has "performed an illegal operation and will shut down." This happens not only in Excel, but in Word, as well.

It's time to put on your troubleshooting hat and do some detective work. The first thing to figure out exactly when the error is occurring. If it occurs when the file is being searched for (before you try to open the file), then there is a chance the problem is with Windows, not Excel or Word. To determine if this is the case, use the Windows Search feature to locate some *.xls files. If you get the same error during the search, the problem is with Windows, and you should run the normal disk maintenance programs such as Scandisk and Defrag; this may clear up the problem.

If the error occurs when you try to open the files in Excel, then try creating a new simple workbook with only one cell filled in. Save it and try to find it. If it opens successfully, then the other files are corrupted and you should try to salvage data from that workbook into a new workbook.

If the new workbook does not open correctly, then there is a problem with your Office installation. Consider reinserting the Office installation CD and choosing the Fix or Repair Office option. Also make sure that you have the most recent service packs installed for your version of Excel.

If the problem persists, then you may need to uninstall Office completely and reinstall it.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2415) 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

Saving Personalized Copies of a Document

Need a series of documents that include an individual's name or a company name? Here's a handy little macro that will make ...

Discover More

Counting Colors from Conditional Formats

Conditional formatting is a great way to make sure that your information looks a particular way, even if the information ...

Discover More

Placing Text in Empty Table Cells

Tables are often used to organize information into an understandable format. If your company requires that tables in formal ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Comma-Delimited Differences for PC and Mac

When you choose to save worksheet data in CSV format, Excel gives you three choices for file formats. Those choices are ...

Discover More

Checking for the Existence of a File

The data stored in a worksheet can often correspond to information external to that worksheet. For instance, you might ...

Discover More

Finding the Size of a Workbook

Keeping tabs on the size of a workbook can be important when using Excel. You have a couple of options that will allow you to ...

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 for this tip:

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.

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.

Links and Sharing
Share