Excel opens random files on start

A user had reported a weird issue last week- when she would open Excel (All Citrix Environment- unrelated) Excel would open with a dozen files- they looked like recent documents. She didn’t have time to let me troubleshoot it at the time, so it was put off. Today I was asked to fix the issue- it still existed. The usual questions were asked: “When did this start?” “Did you change anything?” “Did you change anything??” Giving the user the benefit of the doubt that “nothing had been changed” [mistake] I started looking for issues on the server, and with her profile. All seemed fine – being that this is a Citrix app, there are no options for command-line opening any files, etc.

Then I pulled out my trusty Process Monitor from Sysinternals and ran it on the server- filtering for that user. Once I had the trace, I search for one of the filenames that Excel had opened and found this:

So Excel was looking through a full directory, and opening all 29 files in that directory. Then I realized that the easiest possible solution was probably the right one. There is an option in Excel to open a set of files by default under Excel Options > Advanced > General- shown here:

And when I looked on the user’s Excel- sure enough that network path was filled in the ‘At startup, open all files in:’ field. Nothing wrong with Excel in this case – it was doing exactly what it was told.


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