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Excel 2013 Issues

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Last Modified: 2018-02-06
SBS 2011 Server. Windows 10 Professional workstations. Spreadsheets are kept om the server. The issue is that everyone (20 users) on occasion has Excel jet-lag to the point they have to turn their computers off.

No sign that the server or switches are over utilized. There is nothing consistent about the problem other than maybe the more spreadsheets they have open at the same time the greater the odds of it happening.

I have replaced computers and switches. The only thing I can think is Excel is doing something in the background like backing up or caching or some kind of disk I/O. Is there any way to tell Excel to use the local C: driver for and type of intermittent file backups, caching, temp files, whatever?
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Mike in ITIT System Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
So, if I understand correctly you have 20 users that open 20 + different Excel workbooks across the network. and occasionally they all get locked up at the same time and freeze the user's computers?

I know that all Microsoft Office has the Autosave enabled by default. That might cause an issue if there are 20+ saves trying to happen at the same time across the network.

Have you checked the servers Task Manager when the computers are locked up to see if Excel is using a lot of memory or something?

Are the computers completely locked up or are you able to do other things outside of Excel?

Can the user download local copies of the workbooks and then save them back to the server when they finish working with them?
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
That is the problem. They do not lock up at the same. There is no rhyme or reason. They do it at different times. When it does happen Excel is taking 50-60% CPU. I looked up the AutoSave and it saves to the C: drive. None of these users have any add-ins, no startup macros. I just did a clean Windows 10/Office 2013 install and it still happens.

   I have asked a couple of them to copy consistent problem children down to the C: drive but I don't thing anyone has done it yet. It it were the server or the switches I should be able to see something somewhere. It is a ghost.
Mike in ITIT System Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
Is that 50-60% on the Server? If so that is really high for just Excel.

Are these Excel files full of Formulas?

The Autosave, is that the local C: drive or the Server C: drive?

That is a problem if it doesn't happen for all of them at once. Most likely I would think is that it is only certain files that are doing it, not all of the files.

Are the files all on a share or are your users navigating to the server to access the files?
    If it's a share is it mapped on the user's computers?
        If it's mapped did you fully qualify the share when mapping it?

This is a difficult thing to nail down without being in front of the computers and server. I understand the frustration, though, I had a similar problem a few years back when Office 2010 came out. I ended up having to do two things:
  1. Re-map the share on each users computer using a fully qualified location instead of the just a share name
  2. Removing many redundant formulas in the workbooks and/or separating out the files to make them smaller
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
50-60% on the workstation when it quits responding. I don't know the details but they have to be mostly formulas. My understanding of the autosave is that since Excel is running on the workstation that the autosave is saving to drive C: on the workstation but that is my understanding. That doesn't make it so.

They are all on a single mapped drive which makes some of the path names pretty long. So they all open drive S: and navigate to the file they want. The mapping is done in the login script with a net use s: \\server\data

I had one pretty knowledgeable user swear he had it pinned to to a particular file. When he would simply move from one cell to another it would jet lag severely and lock up. Then the next day it was fine. It is frustrating. It never does the same thing twice.
Mike in ITIT System Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
If you have access to another computer that you can use for testing you can run some tests:
  1. Pull up each workbook, one at a time
  2. Open the most used sheet and make a simple edit (add a character to a cell)
  3. On the Formulas tab click the "Calculate Now" button to have all calculations run

If one of those last two steps causes the lock up, then reboot and do it again to see if you can reproduce the same a second time. Even if you get locked up on one of the files make sure to repeat for each Excel file so that you can find all those that cause the problem.

This will be tedious but will find if one or more of the workbooks has become too large or has too many formulas. Unless you can get it to the point where you can reproduce the problem at will we won't be able to get to a definitive answer.
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
I will have them try that. They have given me a little more detail. It always happens when they have multiple spreadsheets open and I guess it isn't a true lockup. When it happens they can save each individual spreadsheet they have open. Then close it. When they are all saved and closed they can re-open them and work in them for a while until it happens again.

One user says he "locks up" about twice a day. This other user who always has problems opens up the same four spreadsheets all the time. He can some days run all day with no problems. Other days, like today, it locks up every hour. The one thing I thought to be odd was that they can run Excel in safe more and never have an issue. They have no add-ins and no startup macros but safe mode seems to work without fail.
Mike in ITIT System Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
According to this, Excel Safe Mode turns off/disables add-ins and extensions. If they don't have any add-ins do they have any extensions? It could be one of those that is causing the problem.

If it runs fine in Safe Mode then it is something with the files that all the users have, not necessarily with the individual files. There must be an add-in or extension that is being disabled with Safe Mode that is the culprit.

When they say "lock up" what is actually happening? If they are able to save and close them then they aren't actually locked up?
LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
They, like so many others, are using the term "locks up" incorrectly. What happens is what I explained above. Excel becomes unresponsive. They can't do anything but save and close. From what I have seen at that point Excel is running 50% CPU utilization.

Have no idea where do I look for the extensions?
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Distinguished Expert 2017
Commented:
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LockDown32Owner
Top Expert 2016

Author

Commented:
Thanks for the help Mike. Still looking.....
Mike in ITIT System Administrator
Distinguished Expert 2017

Commented:
I hope that you are able to get them working properly again. You are welcome for whatever help I was able to provide.
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