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Excel 2003 Slow Opening Files


By steve - Posted on 02 August 2011

Recently during the summer of 2011, I had a number of Excel users complain about how slow Excel had become opening spreadsheets, especially over the network.

It also seemed to affect files opened from Outlook and locally stored files, but was most pronounced on Network files.

It also seemed to mostly affect XP and Excel 2003 users, but that could be because they run on older computers which "feel the pain" of slow opening files.

There are a lot of articles on the interwebs talking about similar slow downs, but they didn't help...

It turns out, Microsoft has sent out a program update called "Office File Validation" that is supposed to help with security problems with office files.

However, this new scan that takes place seems to slow things down exponentially as the file gets larger or is stored anywhere but on the local drive.

The solution is to add a registry setting that disables the OFV for Excel for each user:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel \Security\FileValidation\EnableOnLoad
Type: REG_DWORD
0 = Don’t validate

If you know what you're doing and are running XP, you can create this as a .reg file with notepad and import it (after backing up your system):

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Excel\Security\FileValidation]
"EnableOnLoad"=dword:00000000

Articles from Microsoft that provide the details are here:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2570623 for the fix
and here:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg985445%28office.12%29.aspx for information about the registry settings and the program.

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