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Excel file opens blank file after downloading file from Client Portal

Posted on 2016-07-27
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Last Modified: 2016-08-03
Hello, I have a user who downloads excel files from a client portal and when they open it it comes up blank.

The excel file is 744kb so there is something in there...

I have tried several different computers, nothing works
Using Excel 2010, Win7 os
I have tried downloading the files with IE and Mozilla, same results.
I have changed the Excel Options>Advance, Ignore other applications that use DDE

The system was working fine the other day
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Question by:tucktech
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ThomasMcA2 earned 500 total points
ID: 41732018
The problem is probably caused by a recent Microsoft Update. Here is a quote from MS:

The Excel team has made a change in the behavior of certain file types to increase security. This change came in the security updates KB3115262, KB3170008, and KB3115322. Previously, when you tried to open an HTML or XLA file with an .XLS file extension from an untrusted location, Excel would warn about the mismatch between the file extension and content, but would still open the workbook without Protected View security. After the security updates Excel no longer will open the workbook because these files are not compatible with Protected View and there is no warning or other indication it was not opened. We apologize that Excel is showing a blank screen instead of a more helpful error message with information about what to do next.

We have a few options for workarounds. These are in order from safest to riskiest. While some people in the forums have suggested rolling back the security patch, we do not recommend that option as it can leave you open to other current and future threats.

1.     The best option is to move away from using HTML wrapped as .xls. If you use native formats (e.g. xls, xlsx, xlsb) which will open in protected view when untrusted, this will provide some level of protection from the documents being opened.

2.     You can unblock access for individual files you know are safe. To do this:
a.      Right click on the file and choose Properties
b.     On the General tab, click Unblock
c.      Click OK

3.     You can make use of existing Trusted Locations capabilities in Excel 2010, 2013, and 2016 via File -> options -> Trust Center -> Trust Center Settings -> Trusted Locations.

a.      You can save the web html file to a trusted location on the local machine (Excel comes with a set of default trust locations). If you do not see the local folder location you trust for these files, then press “Add new location…” button and add it in the Trusted Location dialog. If the HTML document is in a trusted location the KB fix is not applied (e.g. the unsafe HTML file is not blocked).

b.     This approach may unblock you, but it carries some risk as files of any file type in Trusted Locations are fully trusted. If an attacker can drop files into the trusted location they can easily exploit users who open such documents. Be especially cautious when specifying a custom folder as a trusted location.
 
We are also investigating a more permanent solution that allows our users to remain secure as well as minimize disruption to existing user experience. We’ll provide updates on this in the coming days. Thank you for your patience.

Office Newsroom
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Author Comment

by:tucktech
ID: 41732058
I tried options 2 and 3 and they did not work.  I did not restart my machine but figured it was unlikely I would need to to make these changes to take effect.

With unlocking the file, I would unlock, click apply and ok and would check the properties again and it would require another unlock...  any other ideas?
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:ThomasMcA2
ID: 41732221
... any other ideas

A couple:

1) Uninstall the updates, and disable auto-update
2) Consider looking for alternatives to MS products, such as Linux or a Mac.
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Author Closing Comment

by:tucktech
ID: 41740677
I was able to unblock the file after downloading it on the users system.  Hopefully MS will come up with and update for this.
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