Excel becomes unresponsive, hangs, freezes, or stops working (2023)

The troubleshooting steps described in this article can help you resolve the most common problems where you receive an Excel is not responding error message, Excel stops or freezes on startup, or an Excel workbook opens. These types of problems may be due to one or more of the reasons listed below.

Follow the solutions listed in this article in order. If you've already tried one of these methods and it didn't work, move on to the next solution on the list.

notes:If you're having trouble opening Excel files after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, take a lookError opening Office files after upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Troubleshooting in Safe Mode

When you start Excel in safe mode, it overrides features and settings such as alternate startup locations, changed toolbars, startup folders used by Excel, Excel add-ins, and most COM add-ins. While add-ins can enhance your experience, they can occasionally interfere or conflict with Excel.

You can troubleshoot in Safe Mode in one of two ways:

  • Automate Safe Mode troubleshooting with Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant

  • Run manual troubleshooting in safe mode

Automated troubleshooting in safe mode

Microsoft Support and Recovery Assistant fully automates the safe mode isolation process, letting you know if the problem is caused by an add-on, a file in your startup folder, or a toolbar setting.


  • In most cases, the assistant modifies the registry and moves files from the startup folder used by Excel. Before starting the assistant, be sure to back up the registry and any files in the startup folder used by Excel so that you can restore the registry and backed up files if something goes wrong.

  • For more information on how to back up and restore the registry, seeHow to backup and restore the registry in Windows.

  • For more information about the launch maps used by Excel, seeCustomize how Excel starts.

Download and run the assistant

If you're using Google Assistant and it doesn't solve your problem, continueInstall the latest updatespart of this article.

The Excel Error Troubleshooter automates troubleshooting in Safe Mode and includes the following:

  • Start Excel in safe mode

  • Disable COM plugins

  • Disable Excel add-ins

  • Move the files from the startup folder used by Excel

  • Rename the custom toolbar (.xlb) file

Depending on what the script finds on your device, some of these troubleshooting steps may require you to manually uninstall the plugin and move the file back to your startup folder. Use the following information as needed to identify potential changes to your script.

COM Add-ins and Excel Add-ins

If the script disables COM add-ins or Excel add-ins:

  • thisParticipationThe map has been renamed to\AddinsRenamedBySaRAUnder the following registry key:

    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Excel

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\REGISTRY\MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Office\ClickToRun\REGISTRY\MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\Excel

    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWAR\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Office\Excel\

      (Video) how to Fix Excel Not Responding/ Freezing or Slow / hang issues in Windows 10

notes:You may not find \Addins or \AddinsRenamedBySaRA under the above registry key. This is just an extensive list of what you can find in the registry.

  • Any REG_SZ value that is "OPEN" or starts with "OPEN" (eg OPEN1) has "RenamedBySaRA" in front of the name. For example, "OPEN" was renamed to "RenamedBySaRAOPEN"


  • map of the so-calledExcelAddinRegistryDataBySaRACreated on the Windows desktop.

  • the so-called fileAddinRegistryDataExportedBySaRA.regEmbeddedExcelAddinRegistryDataBySaRAMap.

    thisAddinRegistryDataExportedBySaRA.regThe file contains a backup copy of the above registry keys as they existed before the script was run.

Files in the startup folder

If the program moves files from the startup folder used by Excel:

  • Files located in the following folders are moved from these folders:

    • 64 στο Office C2R:C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\Office1x\XLSTART

    • 32 Use Office C2R:C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office1x\XLSTART

    • 64 Για το Office MSI:C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office1x\XLSTART

    • 32 στο Office MSI:C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office1x\XLSTART

    • C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel\XLSTART

    • C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\Office 15\XLSTART

notes:You may not have the above folder. This is just a complete list of what the scene can reveal.

  • Files found in folders specified by the following registry data:

    • 键值:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\1x.0\Excel\Options

      notes:In this subkey, 1x.0 represents the version number of the program. 16.0 will appear in Excel 2016 and later, and 15.0 will appear in Excel 2013.

    • Name: AltStartup

    • Hint: REG_EXPAND_SZ

    • data: folder path

      notes:You may not have the above registry information. This is just a complete list of what the scene can reveal.

  • Files moved from the above folders are moved to a folder namedExcelStartupFilesFoundBySaRAThis is created on the Windows desktop.

  • Create a file named ExcelStartupFolderFiles.log in the ExcelStartupFilesCopiedBySaRA folder.
    The ExcelStartupFolderFiles.log file contains a list of all the files that were moved and their original file locations.

Custom Toolbar File (.xlb)

If the scene detects a custom toolbar file:

  • Files with the .xlb extension in the following folders have been renamed to include the .renamed file extension:

Run manual troubleshooting in safe mode

If you are not using the Assistant, open Excel manually in Safe Mode. Do one of the following:

  • If you are using Windows 11 or Windows 10, selectprinciple>all applications>Windows system>jogging.suggestionExcel/Securityfrom the insidejoggingbox and click onWell.

  • If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, clickjoggingfrom the insideapplicationmenu, typeExcel/Securityfrom the insidejoggingbox and click onWell.

    (Video) How To Fix Microsoft Excel Has Stopped Working or Not Responding

If Excel starts in safe mode, go toCOM pluginspart of this article.

If Excel does not start in safe mode, continueInstall the latest updatespart of this article.

COM plugins

Follow these steps to determine if the problem is caused by a COM add-in:

  1. clickdocument>choices>accessory.

  2. chooseCOM plugins,then clickto go.

  3. Clear all the check boxes in the list, and then clickWell.

  4. Close and restart Excel in normal mode (not safe mode).

If the problem does not appear when you restart Excel in normal mode, start enabling the add-ins one by one until it does. This will let you know which plugin is causing the problem. Be sure to restart Excel each time you activate the add-in.

If disabling COM plugins doesn't solve your problem, see if it's causing the problemExcel deliveries.

Excel deliveries


  • Follow the steps in this section carefully. Serious problems can occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Be sure to back up the registry before modifying it. Make sure you know how to restore the registry if something goes wrong.

  • For more information on how to back up and restore the registry, seeHow to backup and restore the registry in Windows..

  1. Start the registry editor. To do this, press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type regedit.exe and pressWell.

  2. Find and select the following registry key:

    notes:In this subkey, <1x.0> indicates the version number of the program. 16.0 will appear in Excel 2016 and later, and 15.0 will appear in Excel 2013.

  3. from the insideTo docolumn to find any REG_SZ value equal to OPEN.
    If you cannot find a REG_SZ value named OPEN, continueInvestigate possible problems with the files in the startup folderdio.

  4. Right click on Open and selectchanged name.

  5. Rename OPEN to RenamedOPEN and press Enter.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 adding "rename" to the beginning of any REG_SZ value that begins with OPEN. For example, rename OPEN1 to RenamedOPEN1.

  7. Start Excel in normal mode.

  8. If the problem does not occur when you restart Excel in normal mode, re-enable the Excel add-ins one by one by removing "Renamed" from the name. You will be able to identify the plugin that is causing the problem. Remember to restart Excel each time you re-enable the registry add-in.

If disabling COM add-ins and Excel add-ins did not resolve your issue, continueInvestigate possible problems with the files in the startup folderdio.

Investigate possible problems with the files in the startup folder

When you start Excel, it opens any workbooks it finds in the XLStart folder or in an alternate startup folder other than the XLStart folder. Try starting Excel without opening the workbook in the XLStart folder or an alternate startup folder.

Workbooks in the XLStart folder

Any workbook, template, or workspace file located in the XLStart folder opens automatically when you start Excel. You can move the files out of this folder and open Excel to check and see if the problem is caused by a specific workbook. To find the path to the XLStart folder and move the workbook out of it:

  1. clickdocument>choices.

  2. clicktrust center, and then insideMicrosoft Office Excel Trust Center, ClickTrust center settings.

  3. clicktrusted partiesand then note the path to the XLStart folder in the list of trusted locations.

  4. Move any files in this folder to another folder location, and then start Excel in normal mode.

If the problem does not occur when you restart Excel in normal mode, start moving the workbooks you moved in step 4 back to the XLStart folder one at a time, restarting Excel in normal mode each time. If there is a problem with one of the workbooks in the XLStart folder, this should identify the workbook.

If moving the workbook out of the XLStart folder does not solve your problem, check the workbook in an alternate startup folder.

Workbooks in alternate startup folders

Any workbook, template, or workspace file placed in an alternate startup folder opens automatically when you start Excel. Because Excel will try to open every file in the alternate startup folder, make sure that this folder contains only files that Excel can open.

Try starting Excel without opening the workbook in this folder:

(Video) how to Fix Excel Not Responding/ Freezing or Slow / hang issues in Windows 10

  1. clickdocument>choices>Advanced.

  2. lobe, belowGenerally, from the insideOn startup, open all filesbox, note the path to the folder configured as an alternate startup folder.

  3. Move any files in this folder to another folder location, and then start Excel in normal mode.

  4. If the problem persists, start moving all the workbooks you moved in step 3 back to the alternate startup folder one by one, restarting Excel in normal mode each time. You will be able to determine which workbook is causing the problem.

If moving the files from XLStart and the alternate startup folder doesn't solve your problem, go to the next section.

Install the latest updates

You may need to set Windows Update to automatically download and install recommended updates. Installing all important recommended and optimal updates usually fixes the problem by replacing old files and fixing bugs. To install the latest Office update, follow the steps in this article:Update Office and your computer.

If installing the latest Office update didn't solve your problem, continue to the next item in this list.

Make sure Excel is not using another process

If Excel is using another process, this information will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the Excel window. Excel may become unresponsive if you try to perform other operations while using Excel. Allow running tasks to complete their work before attempting other operations.

If Excel doesn't use another procedure, go to the next item in the list.

Explore the details and content of Excel files

Excel files can be kept on your computer for a long time. They are upgraded from version to version and often moved from user to user. Users often inherit an Excel file without knowing what it contains. The following conditions may cause performance issues or errors:

  • Bid alignment type.

  • An array type refers to an odd number of elements in one argument.

  • Hundreds or thousands of hidden or 0 height and width objects.

  • Too many styles due to frequent copying and pasting between workbooks.

  • Too many and invalid definition names.

If these steps don't solve your problem, move on to the next item in the list.

Make sure your file was created by a third party

Sometimes Excel files are created by third-party applications. In this case, the file may not have been created correctly and some functions may not work correctly when you open the file in Excel. If this happens, test the functionality in a new file outside of the third-party application. If these features are working properly, you should make sure that third parties are aware of the problem.

If the problem isn't resolved after trying outside third-party apps, go to the next item in the list.

Run a selective startup to determine if a program, process, or service is conflicting with Excel

When you start Windows, many applications and services start automatically and then run in the background. These applications and services may interfere with other software on your computer. Performing a selective boot (also known as a "clean boot") can help you identify issues with conflicting applications. To run Selective Startup, select one of the links below, depending on your version of Windows, and follow the steps in this article:

Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8:Start selective boot with system configuration
Windows Vista:Start selective boot with system configuration
Windows:How to create and configure user accounts in Windows XP

Selective startup is used to identify problematic processes, services, or applications that conflict with Excel.

If recreating the profile doesn't fix the problem, move on to the next item in the list.

Repair of Office programs

Repair Office can fix problems with Excel not responding, hanging or freezing by automatically fixing errors in Office files. For instructions on how to do this, see:Repair Office applications.

If repairing the Office program didn't solve your problem, move on to the next item in the list.

Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date or it is conflicting with Excel

Excel may not work properly if your antivirus software is not up to date.

Make sure your antivirus software is up to date:

To keep track of new viruses being created, antivirus software vendors provide regular updates that you can download from the Internet. Get the latest updates by visiting your antivirus software vendor's website.

For a list of antivirus vendors, see:Consumer security software vendor.

Check if your antivirus software conflicts with Excel:

If your antivirus software includes integration with Excel, you may experience performance issues. In this case, you can disable all Excel integration in your antivirus software. Alternatively, you can disable any antivirus software add-ins installed in Excel.

great:Changing your antivirus settings can make your computer vulnerable to viruses, phishing, or malicious attacks. Microsoft does not recommend that you try to change your antivirus settings. Use this solution at your own risk.

(Video) How To Fix Microsoft Excel Has Stopped Working or Not Responding (2022)

You may need to contact your antivirus software vendor to determine how to configure your software to block any Excel embedding or scanning.

More information

Advanced troubleshooting

If the methods mentioned above do not solve your problem, the problem may be a file specific problem or an environmental problem. The following sections describe how to resolve other problems that may cause Excel to crash or stop working.

environmental factor

Environmental factors are just as important as file contents and plugins when troubleshooting. You can help determine the cause of the problem by doing the following:

  • Follow the basic troubleshooting steps.

  • Test the files in as clean an environment as possible.

The following sections outline some areas worth exploring.

location to save the file

Moving the file locally will help you determine if there is a problem with the file or where it is stored. Various problems can occur when you save an Excel file over a network or web server. It would be a good idea to save the file locally. This should be done when:

• Redirect the My Documents folder to the server location

• Document offline

• Open files from network or SharePoint folders

• Remote Desktop/Citrix

• Internet Equipment

• Virtualization environment. For more information about Microsoft software running in a virtual environment, see the following articles:Support policy for Microsoft software running on non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software.


Excel files can get quite large when you start adding lots of formatting and shapes. Make sure your system has enough RAM to run the app. For system requirements for Microsoft Office suites, see the following Microsoft articles:

System requirements for Office 2016

System requirements for Office 2013

System requirements for Office 2010

System requirements for Excel 2007

Office 2010 introduces native 64-bit versions of Office products to take advantage of more processing power. To read more about 64-bit versions of Office, go to the following Microsoft article:

64-bit version of Office 2013

Learn more about Office 64-bit

Printer and video drivers

When Excel starts, it checks for the default printer and video driver that will display the Excel workbook. Excel is print intensive and will run more slowly when the Excel file is saved in Page Break Preview. Testing the file with a different printer (such as the Microsoft XPS Document Writer printer driver or the VGA video driver) will determine if the problem is with a specific printer or video driver.

If you still experience hangs or errors in Excel after completing the workarounds listed here, you should contact Microsoft Support for guided troubleshooting.

Need more help?

You can always consult experts in the fieldExcel Technology Communityor get supportrespond to the community.


Why does my Excel file keep hanging? ›

The following things can cause performance or crashing issues: Formulas referencing entire columns. Array formulas referencing an uneven number of elements in the arguments. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands of hidden or 0 height and width objects.

How do I unfreeze Excel when not responding? ›

How do I unfreeze my Excel spreadsheet? Open your Excel file. Select View from the top toolbar. Click Unfreeze Panes.

Why is my Excel very slow and not responding? ›

The first and most common sign of Excel running very slow is that it is processing slowly. It is taking too much time to process the operations you are doing in your Excel sheet. The reasons why your Excel processing is slow can be because of Array formulas or volatile functions you are using.

How do I force Excel to unfreeze? ›

You're scrolling down your worksheet (or scrolling to the side), but part of it is frozen in place. This is probably because at some point you decided to freeze the panes. To fix this, click View > Window > Unfreeze Panes.

How do I run Excel repair? ›

Repair Office
  1. Right-click the Start button. ...
  2. Select the Microsoft Office product you want to repair, and select Modify. ...
  3. Depending if your copy of Office is Click-to-run or MSI-based install, you'll see the following options to proceed with the repair. ...
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the repair.

How do I fix memory issues in Excel? ›

If you have any macros or add-ins installed, try disabling them or uninstalling them. This may help free up some memory. You can also try increasing the amount of memory that Excel has to work with. To do this, go to File > Options > Advanced > Memory Usage and increase the number in the 'Memory Usage' field.

How long should I wait if Excel is not responding? ›

If you're working on a large Excel file that starts freezing, wait for a couple of minutes before proceeding with the article's advise for how to unfreeze Excel.

How do I repair Excel in Windows 10? ›

Windows 10
  1. Click on the Windows "start" icon (bottom-left corner of your screen).
  2. Click on "Settings". ...
  3. Click on "Apps". ...
  4. Select "Microsoft Office" (or "Microsoft Excel" if you do not have the full Office installation).
  5. Click "Modify".
  6. Choose from "Quick Repair" or "Online Repair".

How do I make Excel run faster with a lot of data? ›

Follow these tips for optimizing many frequently occurring performance obstructions in Excel.
  1. Optimize references and links.
  2. Minimize the used range.
  3. Allow for extra data.
  4. Improve lookup calculation time.
  5. Optimize array formulas and SUMPRODUCT.
  6. Use functions efficiently.
  7. Create faster VBA macros.
Mar 29, 2022

How to refresh Excel? ›

Excel provides many options for refreshing data, including when you open the workbook and at timed intervals. Note: To stop a refresh, press Esc. To refresh a worksheet, press Ctrl + F5. To refresh a workbook, press Ctrl + Alt + F5.

How big is too big for an Excel file? ›

2 gigabytes (GB) maximum (2)

How do I unfreeze Excel with keyboard? ›

If you want to unfreeze your panes, you can use the following keyboard shortcut: Alt + W + F + U.

What is the shortcut to freeze unfreeze in Excel? ›

Step 1: In the View tab, click the “freeze panes” drop-down under the “window” section. Select “unfreeze panes,” as shown in the succeeding image. Alternatively, press the shortcut keys “Alt+W+F+F” one by one.

How do you tell if an Excel File is corrupted? ›

One of the obvious signs of Excel file corruption is that you can?t access the real data on the file when opening it. So, for example, formatting and layout keep changing, or sometimes unreadable characters appear on the sheets or documents take more time to load.

Is it possible to fix a corrupted Excel File? ›

Repair a corrupted workbook manually

On the File tab, click Open. In Excel 2013 or Excel 2016, click on the location where the spreadsheet is located, and click Browse. In the Open dialog box, select the corrupted workbook that you want to open. Click the arrow next to the Open button, and then click Open and Repair.

How do I run a diagnostic in Excel? ›

Viewing Office data
  1. Open an Office app such as Word or Excel.
  2. Go to File > Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Privacy Options.
  3. Select the Diagnostic Data Viewer button.
  4. Choose Enable data viewing on this machine and select OK.

How do I check memory in Excel? ›

Measuring Memory Used by Excel

You can use Process Explorer to find Virtual Memory Size. The column to focus on is not there by default and can be added by choosing View - Select Columns - Process Memory Tab - Virtual Size, or by right-clicking the Excel.exe process and choosing Properties- Performance.

What takes up memory in Excel? ›

The computer uses more memory when you open multiple Microsoft Excel files, save Excel files, or make calculations in Excel workbooks. You can no longer open as many Excel workbooks in the same instance as you could before you upgraded to Excel.

Does RAM affect Excel? ›

As more RAM is added to the computer, Excel uses that additional memory, allows larger and larger workbooks, and scales with the amount of RAM available.

Why does my Excel keep freezing when I copy and paste? ›

If Office has gathered too much cache data, you might encounter all sorts of issues, including Excel freezing when you copy and paste. To fix it, you should delete cache files.

How many rows can Excel handle without crashing? ›

xls file format has a limit of 65,536 rows in each sheet, while the . xlsx file format has a limit of 1,048,576 rows per sheet.

Can I uninstall and reinstall Excel? ›

Yes, you can uninstall and reinstall your Microsoft Office application at any time, as long as you know your Microsoft credentials. Before you uninstall, though, it is best to do a back-up of your files, to make sure that you won't be losing any.

Why Excel is not working in Windows 10? ›

Below are the reasons that help you to get a clear idea on why Excel not opening in Windows 10: Microsoft Excel has not been correctly upgraded or installed on your PC/laptop. Excel files might have got corrupted. MS Excel is unable to access to default printer setup on your PC/laptop.

What does office quick repair do? ›

Quick Repair – Fixes most issues quickly, without the need for an internet connection, or, Online Repair – Fixes all issues, but takes a little longer and requires an internet connection throughout. You can select this option if you are still having problems after trying Quick Repair.

What slows down Excel the most? ›

Avoid Volatile Formulas

For example, if you use NOW function in a cell, every time there is a change in the worksheet, the formula would be recalculated and the cell value would update. This takes additional processing speed and you end up with a slow excel workbook. As a rule of thumb, avoid volatile formulas.

Which of the following is most likely to make Excel run faster? ›

Excel calculates a workbook faster if data and formulas reside in the same worksheet. Try using fewer worksheets in your workbook!

How do I make Excel use more CPU? ›

One way to change how much of your system resources are devoted to a particular task (such as running Excel) is to modify the importance placed on the task by the operating system. You can do this by displaying the Task Manager, right-clicking the Excel.exe process, and then choosing Set Priority.

How do I open an Excel file with more than 1 million rows? ›

The Solution

You basically load the data into what Excel calls a Data Model, keeping just a link to the original CSV file. After that, you can create a Pivot Table directly from the Data Model. With that method, you will be able to load millions of rows.

Why is my Excel file so large and slow? ›

This is what makes the file so large: Excel is picking up a lot of empty cells and thinks there's data in them, which then it tries to save into the XLSX file on disk, and because it needs to keep references to all those hundreds or thousands of cells, the file size gets overblown.

How do I delete unused cells in Excel? ›

How to remove blank cells in Excel
  1. Select the range where you want to remove blanks. ...
  2. Press F5 and click Special… . ...
  3. In the Go To Special dialog box, select Blanks and click OK. ...
  4. Right-click any of the selected blanks, and choose Delete… from the context menu:
Mar 16, 2023

How do I unfreeze cells in Excel when scrolling? ›

On the View tab, in the Window group, click the arrow below Freeze Panes. time, click Freeze Panes. Unfreeze Panes so that you can unlock any frozen rows or columns.

How do you jump between frozen panes? ›

To unfreeze panes:

To unfreeze rows or columns, click the Freeze Panes command, then select Unfreeze Panes from the drop-down menu.

How do I turn off freeze panes? ›

Freeze or unfreeze rows or columns

Touch and hold a row or column. In the menu that appears, tap Freeze or Unfreeze.

What is the freeze option in Excel? ›

Select the row below the row(s) you want to freeze (select row 6, if you want to freeze rows 1 to 5). On the View tab, click Freeze Panes > Freeze Panes.

Where is the freeze function in Excel? ›

Excel can automatically freeze the first column on a spreadsheet by clicking the Freeze First Column button under View. But if you want to freeze another column, just select the one to the right of where you want to freeze it and click on Freeze Panes.


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