Recover an unopenable file



I have an urgent requirement to recover an unopenable file. It is a 67MB
Excel 2000 file, containing reams of historical data. Every time I try to
open it, I get a message saying that Excel has encountered an error and needs
to close. I was just working with it yesterday, and it was a little slow to
open but worked fine otherwise.

Can anyone help me or tell me what resources I can explore to solve this
critical problem?




Nick Hodge

Don't disagree with anything Bill says apart from the size of file. Many of
my files have worked well for years at 150mb+. These however have little
formatting as I believe it is this that gets corrupted.

You may also try a Google search for a commercial solution if it's that


Nick Hodge
Microsoft MVP - Excel
Southampton, England
(e-mail address removed)
blog (non tech):

Bill Manville

67MB Excel file - wow!

A number of techniques are possible.

Later versions of Excel (e.g. 2003) sometimes recover better than
earlier ones from corrupted workbooks.

Some people suggest the use of OpenOffice which seems more tolerant to
problems in the file.

Failing that you may have to go back to your last good backup, and
start making frequent backups as you work in case the problem recurs
when the workbook hits some limit.

You should consider whether there are alternative approaches so that
you avoid having such an enormous file.

Bill Manville
MVP - Microsoft Excel, Oxford, England




Just an update on what I've accomplished.

First, as recommended by Microsoft, I tried opening the document in Excel
2003 viewer; it was unable to repair the file. Then, I linked to it in a
blank Excel 2000 worksheet and entering in A1: =[File/Sheet name]!A1, and
drag-copying this cell to all other cells included in the original workbook
data range. This recovered the values; formulas and other features (names,
formats, charts, and scenarios) were lost.

I did better by opening the file on another computer in Excel 2003 (the
program, not the viewer). It was able to repair the file, including the
formulas and names. However, formatting, charts, and scenarios were lost.

I suspect that even though the file was previously saved succefully, for
some reason it was unopenable. Therefore, one might try creating a backup
but by using Windows Explorer to create an exact copy to a dedicated
location). This is in addition to using Excel's "always create backup"
option. Thus there would be two backup copies: last saved, and last
successfully opened.

One should also try periodically creating a report of scenarios and names
(an option in those features' dialog boxes); this will at least allow a
manual re-entry of the scenarios and names if they should get lost.

Incidentally, the new workbook, sans charts and scenarios, is only 33MB,
about half the original.

I would appreciate comments or suggestions anyone may have.


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