Excel closes without warning

bquackenbush

New Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
9
This is the strangest - and probably most frustrating - problem I've run into with Excel in 20+ years working with the software. It's stumped our corp IT guys so far too, so hoping someone either has run into this problem or can give me some ideas how to troubleshoot.

We're running Excel 2013 Professional on Windows 10 Enterprise. We have Bromium and CrowdStrike installed by corporate policy. Everything is really locked down, so unlikely that this is a virus.

I have an Excel file that has several ODBC connections to an Oracle database using the 32 bit driver (version 11.02.00.03). I created the Oracle back end and everything on the database layer is tested and operational (it's a relatively simple DB application). The ODBC connections pull correctly into data tables in Excel. I created two data relationships in Excel to link the data tables together on two common fields in order to use slicers across all the data tables. There is no VBA code...just ODBC data pulls into one workbook and a few pivots connected to those tables by using the Excel data model.

This was all working beautifully on Friday. I was saving my work throughout the day without any problems. The workbook was exactly where I wanted it Friday COB. Yesterday I came in, opened the workbook, made a small change in the DB layer to streamline the SQL and re-pulled the data into the ODBC data tables. Everything still looked great. I hit File->Save and the workbook closed. It did not save the workbook. It didn't look like a typical crash. It just closed and wrote a zero-byte file to the folder where the file is located with a random 8 character file name (i.e. "C8972400"). I reopened Excel and tried again but same result. I restarted Windows - same result. I took it up to our IT guys and sent them the file. They opened the file on two different computers (one with Excel 2013 and one with Excel 2016) and they tried to save - same result. They uninstalled CrowdStrike and Bromium, but this didn't have any effect.

So, I opened the file, created an extra worksheet with and single value typed into cell A1 of "Test" and then deleted all other worksheets. So, the file had just one worksheet with one value in cell A1. I tried to save but got same result - file closed without saving and that strange 8-character zero-byte file.

Later in the day, I was messing around with the file, alt-tabbed away from it, and noticed a few minutes later that Excel closed on its own. I thought I was losing my mind, so re-opened it and just kept an eye on it throughout the rest of the day and noticed that Excel would sporadically close. Sometimes it happened while I was refreshing a data table. Sometimes it happened while I was alt-tabbed away and Excel was running in the background.

This doesn't happen with any other Excel file I'm working with, so it's got to be something with this file or with how this file is interacting with some other software on my machine.

I have really talented front-line IT help desk people and they're stumped, so they're going to escalate it to one of our Windows engineers. But, so far we've not been able to find anything in any event log to indicate what may be happening.

Any ideas what may be going on or even where I can look to research on my own?

Thanks
 

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jkpieterse

Well-known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Messages
1,080
Sounds like a corruption has worked itself into the file. I'd start removing things from the file until it starts to behave itself. Then take the original and remove the last item you removed and see if that was the one.
 

bquackenbush

New Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
9
Thanks for the suggestion. Yesterday I removed all but one worksheet with one value in cell A1. Tried to re-save and it simply closed instead without saving. So, that's about as stripped down as I can get it I think. Is there something else I need to check? Maybe something from the data model remains even after you delete the worksheets that contained tables related to the data model?
 

bquackenbush

New Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
9
I also tried removing all the relationships (Data->Relationships) and also tried manually removing the data model by opening the file with WinZip and deleting the xl\model folder. Neither helped...when I re-saved the file it simply closed without saving.

And, to take it to an extreme - manually removed the data model, opened and repaired excel (message said data model was removed), deleted all but one worksheet with one value in cell A1. So, at that point I think it was about the most stripped down version of an Excel file I can create, but same result - when I try to save, it closes without saving.

IT support took the file home last night and had the same result on Excel 365, so whatever's going on it happens across 2013, 2016 and 365.
 
Last edited:

jkpieterse

Well-known Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2007
Messages
1,080

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Are the connections still in the file perhaps?
 

bquackenbush

New Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
9
Thanks Jan. That seems to have pointed me in the right direction. When I deleted all but the one simple worksheet, the data connections still existed. When I opened the original full workbook, I noticed there were 7 data connections that weren't associated with the workbook at all. I believe these were earlier tables based on queries that I revised. When I revised the queries, I simply deleted the original table and recreated it in a new table. For some reason, deleting the data table did not delete the data connection...strange I think. Anyway, when I deleted these 7 "obsolete" data connections the workbook successfully saved. Hopefully this is the end of the story with this problem. Thanks for your help.
 

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