Windows 10: Excel error when opening documents "problem sending the command..." Solved

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  1.    05 Aug 2015 #1

    Excel error when opening documents "problem sending the command..."


    The full error reads: There was a problem sending the command to the program.
    This is actually an older Excel problem that appears to have returned with my upgrading to Windows 10.
    This error is presented whenever I try to open any excel file (tried .xls .xlsm .xlsx) by double clicking on it and right clicking and selecting "Open".
    I can open Excel by itself and go to FILE->Open and all the files open just fine that way.
    I've tried all of the following:
    • Disable all COM and Excel add-ins
    • Disable hardware acceleration
    • Check "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)", close excel, try to re-open file, accept error then go back and uncheck "Ignore other applications...", close excel again, try to re-open files again
    • Go to registry HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open and backup/export then delete ddeexec
      (completed same process for Excel.Sheet.12, Excel.Sheet.8 and Excel.Macrosheet)
    • Go to same locations in registry but instead go to "command" key and change (Default) value from:
      "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\Office15\EXCEL.EXE" /dde
      to:
      "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\Office15\EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"
      (completed same process for Excel.Sheet.12 and Excel.Sheet.8)
    • All of the various methods mentioned here:
      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3001579
      • DDE method (already tried above)
      • I don't have User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)
      • Reset file associations
      • Repair Office (tried both Quick and Online repairs)
      • Turn off add-ons (already tired above)
      • Disable hardware acceleration (already tired above)
      • Check for updates (everything is up-to-date)

    • Verified that all files and shortcuts are not setup to run in compatibility mode
    • Verified that excel is not set to run as administrator (same for the files)


    I actually had some limited success with the attempt colored in blue above. The .xlsx document did actually open (rather than the typical blank/empty Excel window) but the "problem sending the command" error still shows up. I haven't tried this fix in the Excel.Macrosheet key to see if it works on the .xlsm file yet because I figured the problem was still somewhere else since the error was still showing up for the .xlsx file.

    Any further help or suggestions would greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jimbo

    Edit: added the last two list items (forgot that I had checked those)
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    05 Aug 2015 #2

    <solution>


    Thanks to the marked solution from the site below, I was able to get things working again.
    Windows 7 - Cannot run multiple instances of excel using option

    The site says to check the DDE option in Excel first. I found that it doesn't matter whether you do this or not. Having the box checked or unchecked appears to have no effect on anything for me. (I ended up leaving it unchecked because that appears to be the consensus of the state it "should" be in on most sites I found)

    So the solution for me ended up being sort of a combination of two of the methods I had tried before:
    • In the registry editor (win+r then type regedit) go to the following location:
      HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open
    • Backup before you change by right clicking on "Open" and selecting "export"
    • Either delete or rename "ddeexec"
      (renaming to ddeexecOLD or ddeexecBAK helps you remember that you changed something in the registry if you ever have to come back to this location again)
    • Select "command" then modify the "(Default)" entry by replacing /dde at the end of the string with "%1" (with the quotes and a space before the "%1").
      • Changing /dde to /e appears to have no effect, all that was needed was the "%1" at the end.

    • Repeat the above process replacing Excel.Sheet.12 with any/all of the following that are applicable to you:
      • Excel.CSV
      • Excel.Macrosheet
      • Excel.OpenDocumentSpreadsheet.12
      • Excel.Sheet.8
      • Excel.SheetBinaryMacroEnabled.12
      • Excel.SheetMacroEnabled.12
      • Excel.Template
      • Excel.Template.8
      • Excel.TemplateMacroEnabled




    Edit note: Per the issue mentioned in the following post, if you do not delete the /dde, excel evidently opens each workbook in its own instance of excel. This causes issues for macros that access multiple open workbooks.
    Last edited by gijimbo; 02 Oct 2015 at 14:51.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    13 Aug 2015 #3

    Unfortunate side-effect


    Note: I've discovered an unfortunate side-effect of using this solution. It used to be that only one instance of Excel would run when multiple workbooks were open (unless a workbook was open and then you manually launched Excel and opened another workbook from that instance). This allowed macros to work with all open workbooks. Now, however, each workbook I double click to open is opened in a new instance of Excel. This causes any macros that work with multiple open workbooks to fail .

    I tried re-running the "repair office" option from programs and features and now the error message is back AND Excel runs a new instance every time (with a blank window for each of course because of the error). This has just become the next level of frustrating . I'll edit this post with any further information I can find.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Multiple Instances.png 
Views:	6 
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ID:	31112



    Edit: I believe I've fixed the issue. This time I replaced the /dde in the registry keys with "%1". The solution post has been updated accordingly.
    Last edited by gijimbo; 13 Aug 2015 at 17:56.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  4. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       29 Sep 2015 #4

    You hit my problem "Nail on the head"


    I think you are both about beat our heads in with a hammer on this one. I have fought this issue for years with a certain user. I'm guessing there is some program that breaks the /e "%1%" issue. I can't figure out which one it is however.

    I appreciate all the updates to the issue I also read below. I did submit an issue with Microsoft so hopefully I can add some insight onto this issue.

    Opening Excel first always eliminates the issue, but if it's not open, slow Excel.

    Thanks again, Shawn

    gijimbo said: View Post
    The full error reads: There was a problem sending the command to the program.
    This is actually an older Excel problem that appears to have returned with my upgrading to Windows 10.
    This error is presented whenever I try to open any excel file (tried .xls .xlsm .xlsx) by double clicking on it and right clicking and selecting "Open".
    I can open Excel by itself and go to FILE->Open and all the files open just fine that way.
    I've tried all of the following:
    • Disable all COM and Excel add-ins
    • Disable hardware acceleration
    • Check "Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)", close excel, try to re-open file, accept error then go back and uncheck "Ignore other applications...", close excel again, try to re-open files again
    • Go to registry HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.12\shell\Open and backup/export then delete ddeexec
      (completed same process for Excel.Sheet.12, Excel.Sheet.8 and Excel.Macrosheet)
    • Go to same locations in registry but instead go to "command" key and change (Default) value from:
      "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\Office15\EXCEL.EXE" /dde
      to:
      "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Root\Office15\EXCEL.EXE" /e "%1"
      (completed same process for Excel.Sheet.12 and Excel.Sheet.8)
    • All of the various methods mentioned here:
      https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3001579
      • DDE method (already tried above)
      • I don't have User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)
      • Reset file associations
      • Repair Office (tried both Quick and Online repairs)
      • Turn off add-ons (already tired above)
      • Disable hardware acceleration (already tired above)
      • Check for updates (everything is up-to-date)

    • Verified that all files and shortcuts are not setup to run in compatibility mode
    • Verified that excel is not set to run as administrator (same for the files)


    I actually had some limited success with the attempt colored in blue above. The .xlsx document did actually open (rather than the typical blank/empty Excel window) but the "problem sending the command" error still shows up. I haven't tried this fix in the Excel.Macrosheet key to see if it works on the .xlsm file yet because I figured the problem was still somewhere else since the error was still showing up for the .xlsx file.

    Any further help or suggestions would greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Jimbo

    Edit: added the last two list items (forgot that I had checked those)
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  5. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       29 Sep 2015 #5

    Jimbo, any chance you use any dual monitor programs that save your desktop icons, or allow multiple desktop backgrounds?
    I use and have used one for years called Ultramon. Everyone I have used it for loves it and requests it. Just a thought. This user also uses this program.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  6. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       30 Sep 2015 #6

    I did confirm the issue is NOT with the Ultramon program. Issue still remains with no updates at this point.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    02 Oct 2015 #7

    @milofields I have used a multimonitor program in the past, it is called Display Fusion (link). However, I have not used it in at least a couple of years and have reformatted since I had last used it so it shouldn't be related to our issue. I've just settled for having the same desktop background repeated on both of my monitors.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  8. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       02 Oct 2015 #8

    I noticed that program one day but haven't tried it. Looked pretty slick.

    Any idea if this problem is affected with Office 2016? I ended up tabling the problem and having the user open Excel first and it opens fast and leaving it active in the running programs windows and then if he opens the links they are fast to open. It appears to just be slow if Excel is opened first.

    Thank you for the reply,
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    02 Oct 2015 #9

    @milofields, As mentioned in the <solution> post, going to the specified location in the registry and replacing /dde with "%1" fixed the issue for me. So this really isn't an issue that I'm still working on. This had to be done for all of the different types of files that I open with Excel.

    Also, I have not used Office 2016 (didn't even know it existed yet) so I have no idea.
      My ComputerSystem Spec


  10. Posts : 6
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       02 Oct 2015 #10

    I tried the "%1" option, but when his Excel opened, it opened blank. I also unchecked use DDE and didn't fix it this time.

    It had the last 3 computers, but not this one.


      My ComputerSystem Spec


 
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