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Occasionally, Microsoft Office programs can become damaged, perhaps due to disk problems or malware. Fortunately, you can repair Microsoft Office.

When I want to open a file in Excel a dialog box appears: "PROGRAMME ERROR: EXCEL.EXE has generated errors and will be closed by Windows. You will need to restart the program."

How do I fix this?

This can happen for a number of reasons. In fact, it can happen to any of the Microsoft Office programs, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, and others.

Fortunately, the Microsoft Office actually has an option to help deal with situations like this.

You can repair Microsoft Office.

Launching Microsoft Office Setup

Fire up Control Panel, and in Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features (depending on your version of Windows), you'll find Microsoft Office listed:

Microsoft Office listed in Control Panel Programs and Features

Right-click the Microsoft Office entry and click Change:

Microsoft Office, change menu item in Control Panel

That will start the Microsoft Office Setup program.

Repair with Office Setup

You will likely need your original Microsoft Office installation media - either the original install CDs, DVD, or the equivalent.

Microsoft Office Setup starts with a choice of what action to take:

Microsoft Office Setup, repair option

Make sure that Repair is selected and click Continue.

Microsoft Office Repair in progress

This can take some time as Office Setup validates and repairs your installation.

Eventually the repair completes:

Microsoft Office Repair complete

Click Close and you may be faced with this:

Microsoft Office reboot after setup

Microsoft Office's repair may require that you reboot your machine for the changes made to take affect.

If that didn't help...

Repairing Microsoft Office will not repair any of your Office data files. If a document has somehow been corrupted, it's possible that this could potentially crash your Office program.

The easiest way to determine this is to open a different document or create a new document, save, and then re-open it. If that all works, then it's likely that the problem is with the specific document that you tried to open that caused the crash.

Unfortunately, there's no general purpose Microsoft Office document repair tool. The closest is ScanPST, a tool specifically for repairing Microsoft Office Outlook's PST files. Hopefully, you'll have backup copies of your important documents that haven't been corrupted.

Another possibility is a misbehaving add-on. Like many programs, Microsoft Office's tools can be extended by third-party add-ons and occasionally they are at fault. You can try uninstalling any that you're aware of or alternately, instead of performing a repair install of Office, you can uninstall it completely and reinstall. (As always, back up your data prior to doing this.)

Article C5061 - February 1, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

February 3, 2012 11:39 AM

On my XP system there is a link for change/remove but when you click it the only option shown is to uninstall.

February 7, 2012 10:43 AM

Would this solution to "change" the set up work in my situation?

I always use MS Office 98 and load it to each new computer. I am used to the layout and feel I don't need to change to a newer version.

I guess my computer must have some sort of version of 2007 MS Office as when I recently opened a Word attachment from an email it opened in Word 2007 and now many of my own documents now open in MS Word 2007, or I get a pop up message that the document cannot open and a compatible document will open in MS Works. It is as if MS Office 1998 no longer can be used.

I really would like to go back to just having MS Office 1998. I have all the original CD's etc.

Office doesn't work well with more than one version installed. The correct solution in this case I believe is to UNinstall both (2007 and 98), and then reinstall Office 98 from scratch.
February 7, 2012 7:09 PM

If THIS fails then MS makes a tool that will remove all traces of MS office. (it will leave documents AND outlook settings INTACT). Then do a reinstall.
I had MS2007 crap out after an interrupted update, It would not even load.
this saved me from a ful system wipe

Gurinder Singh
February 9, 2012 12:00 AM

I too always use word 98/2000 There is a FIX provided by Microsoft to open office 2007 or 2010 file in office 98/2000. This patch file is fileformatconverter.exe Just run this file after u install the office 98/2000 and it is done. No problem after this u would be able to open any office 2007 or 2010 word, excel, powerpoint file after this, even u can create or save 2007/2010 file through ur office 98 or 2000, after ur install this fix.

June 13, 2012 11:13 PM

You are right, there is no any general purpose Word repair repair tool available issued by Microsoft to repair corrupt document but "Open & Repair" feature is available. it will try to repair all possible corruption in MS Word document. In some cases it fails too, at this stage you should try MS gold certified Partner's Product Stellar Phoenix Word recovery.

July 18, 2012 4:46 PM

My laptop computer was in the process of repairing Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 in the suggested way and my battery ran out; when I turned the computer back on and tried again a notification regarding the interruption popped up, saying that the interrupted attempt was preventing the new one, and now the repair process fails to 'complete successfully' every time I try... is there any way to fix this??

November 29, 2012 4:02 AM

Some time to use of inbuilt MS Word functions fails to repair it in some severe case. Then it is better to use Word repair tool to repair word file after recovery you can get your original Word file without any modification. You can try to download its demo version and preview your repaired Word file.

Nancy Sires
January 3, 2013 1:44 PM

Am having major crashes while in a Word document. I have my CD, but have tossed the key code in error when moving. I can tell by looking at my CD it appears that it has gotten hot or something. What can I do?

Mark J
January 4, 2013 12:55 AM

You can use a program like the free version of Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder to recover your MS Office and Windows installation keys.

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