Fix: Error when double clicking an Excel file: Windows cannot find the file

Products by on December 17, 2007 at 12:14 pm

If you don’t have this error, don’t bother reading this post. It took some time to find a fix and my hope that this post will help others in the future.

Somehow my Excel installation got into a funky state where I had problems opening files from anywhere but inside Excel.

Firefox gave me this error message when I tried to open an excel file off an Excel link:

associated helper application does not exist

Windows explorer gave me this error message when I doubleclicked the file from anywhere (desktop, windows explorer, etc.):

Windows cannot find ‘path\file’

In both of these cases, Excel would open but no file would load. It took a bit of digging, but this blog post put me on to the solution - I had to unregister and regregister Excel.

The original post was originally written for Excel 2003. If you’re running 2008, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. In Excel, click the Microsoft Office Button (in the top left), click Excel Options (at the bottom of the menu box on the right), click the Advanced category, and then under the General section, clear the Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) check box.
  2. In Windows, open a command prompt: Start > Run will get you the run dialog box. Then enter “cmd”
  3. Navigate to the directory of your Excel installation. On my machine that is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12
  4. Enter this command: excel.exe /unregserver
  5. then enter this command: excel.exe /regserver

I would expect that a similar fix would work if Word, Powerpoint or other Office programs end up in a similar state.

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