Vintage Excel macros


Thread Starter
Oct 9, 2021

This is an irritation I have been living with for several years.
I hope someone here will be able to help.

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s I spent a lot of time building and perfecting an extensive library of Excel macros to assist with my work.
I began doing this before "Visual Basic" was introduced, so they were all programmed in the original Excel Macro language, which Microsoft continued to support well into the 2000s.

When I left that employment I took a copy of the macros with me, in the form of an XLA file, and continued to use them at home on an old PC running Windows XP and Excel 97.

This was absolutely fine until I had some sort of problem with the computer and was advised to re-install Windows 97 from the original disk.

Since doing that I haven't been able to get the macros to work.

When I try to run them, Excel 97 comes up with the error message "Could not register the Visual Basic environment. Please run Setup."
But when I go to the terminal window and run SETUP, Windows comes up with another error message: "Please go to the control panel to install and reconfigure system components".
Searching in the control panel for "Visual Basic environment" comes up with nothing.

I've lived with this annoyance for several years now, but just recently my irritation boiled over when I needed to do a rather complicated and time-consuming thing with some data.
I spent a lot of time and effort back in the day perfecting a macro to automate exactly that thing.

It is absolutely infuriating that I can no longer run the macro.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can get my beloved suite of vintage macros working again?




Trusted Advisor
Mar 27, 2008
Hi Graham,
I can understand your frustration since I'm one that started 'playing' with macro's in 1990.
I haven't run into any issues with my 'old' macro's and If I get it correct you've collected these in one xla file?
You also mention that the problems started after reinstalling Windows 97 (???) you probably mean Office 97 :unsure:
Which OS version are you running now? 32 or 64 bit?
Have you tried opening the file in safe mode (holding down the shift key while opening Excel)
I don't know if you want to share your xla file but if you attach it I'd like to take a look and see what happens here.
As you mention that you do not have VBA environment, then I think your macros are all in separate macro worksheets, you'll have to create a VBA Project and create your macros there (copying the macro sheet's text into a new module.
May sound complicated but I don't think it'll be that difficult.
There was an article explaining that Microsoft was going to disallow / block Excel 40. macros

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