Crashing when Searching

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 30, 2020)

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. ...

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