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MS Excel "Unable to Read File"


amaul's Avatar
amaul amaul is offline
Member with 211 posts.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Columbus OH & Pittsburgh PA
Experience: Intermediate
30-Apr-2001, 09:20 AM #1
Am I sorry for not making a backup.

The XLS File is 1.231 MB in size. It has 15 worksheets.
Awhile back when I was opening the file, I received a window message stating "The workbook you are opening contains macros. Some macros may contain viruses." along with three buttons, Disable Macros (default), Enable Macros, & Do Not Open.
A problem here first-of-all is that the file never had macros. Even checking the file after opening (going into the Macro menus) revealed that the file had no macros. But the file worked otherwise and I never gave it much thought.
I do have the entire system (every file) periodically scanned for viruses. I update my Norton AV monthly.
NOW, when I try opening this very important file, I still get the macro window message, but immediately afterwards it bluntly states "Unable to Read File".

I really need the stuff in this file, in each worksheet. I opening the file with a text editor and all the data still seems to be there.
Your assistance & insite would be very much appreciated on how I can address this problem.

System Info follows:
I have MS Excel version 97 SR-2
Microsoft Windows 98 4.10.2222 A
Clean install using Full OEM CD /T:C:\WININST0.400 /SrcDir=F:\WIN98 /IZ /IS /IQ /IT /II /NR /II /C /U:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
GenuineIntel Pentium(r) Processor
64% system resources free
Windows-managed swap file on drive C (180MB free)
Available space on drive C: 180MB of 1218MB (FAT32)
Available space on drive D: 725MB of 2043MB (FAT32)
EAFiedler's Avatar
Moderator with 13,881 posts.
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Indiana
30-Apr-2001, 10:17 PM #2
Hi amaul

Try opening the Excel file in Word,
Shift, Right click on the Excel file, select Open with, select Winword, make sure the checkmark for "Always use this program to open this type of file" is removed.
Copy and paste the workbook to a new Excel file.

Let us know if this works for you or not.
amaul's Avatar
amaul amaul is offline
Member with 211 posts.
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Columbus OH & Pittsburgh PA
Experience: Intermediate
22-Aug-2001, 12:18 AM #3
Thumbs up Thanks. But MS (amazingly) helped out.
I tried importing the troubled XLS file into Word, and saw that it would take quite awhile (probably days) before getting it all back into its proper format, pages, cells, etc.

Actually, Microsoft's Online Technical Support helped out (amazing, eh, and I didn't have to pay extra) by fixing/recovering the troubled file. What email they sent to me appears below -- there are some links provided which may be useful to your readers:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: SRZ010501000016:MS Excel "Unable to Read File"

Hi Andy,

Thank you for choosing Online Support for your Microsoft Technical Support offering. My name is Charles and I will be assisting you with this Service Request.

In the case log you've indicated that when you are trying to open a specific workbook in Excel, you receive the message that states the workbook contains some macros, and then another error message says that "Unable to Read File". We shall be working to resolve this specific issue through the course of the case. If I have misunderstood your concern please let me know.

According to your description, I believe that the workbook that you experience the problem in has already crashed. If possible, please send that workbook and all linked workbooks to me. I'll try my best to recover the workbook for you. However since the Excel file damage is mostly caused by hard disk error or the computer hanging up, I cannot guarantee that I can recover all the information.

Here, I would like to provide the following article in our Knowledge Base on how to repair an Excel damaged file. You also can use these methods to try to recover the workbook on your side.

XL: Summary of Methods to Recover Data from Corrupted Files

Also, the following article describes how to prevent Excel file from damaged.

XL: How to Prevent File Corruption

If anything is unclear, feel free to let me know. It is my pleasure to be of assistance, and I am looking forward to your reply.

Best Regards,
Charles Li
Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer
Office Online Support
Dave Hall's Avatar
Dave Hall Dave Hall is offline
Junior Member with 3 posts.
Join Date: Dec 2004
02-Dec-2004, 02:14 AM #4
Hi amaul
Read this page

Dave Hall
FDRLab Data Recovery Centre Consultant
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