We have approximately 5-10 users who share an excel workbook on a shared folder. Recently, the workbook started to become unstable and it will freeze and then will be removed from the shared folder leaving behind 2 temp files.

With my understanding of shared excel workbooks, these temp files are being used to update the file. But what has boggled my mind is why the actual excel file disappears. Users will still have the workbook open but they are unable to edit the file and save it.

These users are running Excel 2007 and 2010. Both x32 and x64. Everyone is on Windows 7.

The excel workbook has 11 frozen panes and 1100+ rows.

Could anyone point me in the direction to help troubleshoot this issue? Our longterm solution is to use SharePoint 2010 but I'd like to at least get this problem resolved while I put up a SharePoint site.

  • 4
    twitch Use a real database and an interface app. I know that's not your "right now" answer, but I'm not willing to go near this one. – Jeff Ferland Feb 21 '12 at 17:59
  • I've recommended using Access or having someone build an app w/ sql server in the backend. – Rowell Feb 28 '12 at 0:07
  • SQL server and an app. I have previously used Access for apps. While handy and initially functional, it will likely fail and corrupt itself as well when you get enough users poking at it. – Jeff Ferland Feb 28 '12 at 0:14
  • Thanks for sharing your experience. I will emphasize on going that route indeed. – Rowell Feb 28 '12 at 23:21
  • @Rowell he said "real database". Access is not a real database. That's like comparing paint.exe to photoshop. – AviD Mar 27 '12 at 16:07

Doing some searches leads me to a number of complaints about this problem going all the way back to Office 2000. I've always found this "feature" to be buggy and I've strongly advised Customers not to use it (or, invariably, critical business processes end up getting "tied" to this buggy "feature" and work is disrupted when Excel fails). It sounds like you're already "stuck".

I've had some luck getting shared workbooks to behave better by "un-sharing" them, saving them, and then "re-sharing" them. Often a radical decrease in file size and an increase in speed when working with the file results. I haven't been unfortunate enough to see the exact behavior you're seeing, but I'd give the "un-share" and "re-share" bit a try at least.

I don't think there's a "magic wand" you can "wave" over this problem, other than to replace the function that Excel is providing with something stable.

  • 1
    shared Excel workbooks = trouble every time. – user89350 Feb 21 '12 at 18:11
  • I've found that everything in the office suite is VERY susceptible to network burps. To the point where when possible I advise people NOT to edit documents over the network. Otherwise we get glitches like documents you can't save or close anymore, and have to create a new document and copy and paste material over and re-save or you lose everything. – Bart Silverstrim Feb 21 '12 at 18:15
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    Repeat after me: "Excel is NOT a Database Management System" (Evan gave you about the best suggestion I can think of for unwinding your current mess. Once you do that, start giving VERY SERIOUS consideration to a real database. Even Access is better/safer than what you're doing now...) – voretaq7 Feb 21 '12 at 18:25
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    @BartSilverstrim: Excel shared workbooks and Access databases have been touchy for me (and, even then, only somewhat touchy). I can't say that I've seen problems with general use of XLS(x) and DOC(x) files over reasonable network connections (LAN-type technologies-- Ethernet, etc) for several thousand users w/ redirected "My Documents" folders and shared folders. – Evan Anderson Feb 21 '12 at 18:27

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