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  1. #1
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    Spontaneous shutdown of Excel

    I have a Windows Vista OS. I am a heavy user of Excel. McAfee is set for continuous scanning.

    Lately I have had a problem with spontaneous shutdown. At first, Excel would close spontaneously, even while I was typing in data. Usually the file was recoverable (lost up to 10 minutes) when I restarted Excel.

    Today, the entire system went into a restart spontaneously, again while I was typing in data. It asked if I wanted to save but closed so fast I had no time for a rescue attempt and the save didn't work.

    I saw some posts on the Windows 7 thread about spontaneous shutdown but I have Vista.

    Ideas?

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  3. #2
    5 Star Lounger Maudibe's Avatar
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    I would rule out an overheating problem. Taxing your Cpu with some number crunching can drive the temps up fairly quickly. Some motherboards are designed the shut the system down when they get too hot to prevent permanent damage. A thorough cleaning would be prudent with compressed air. Don't rely on vaccuuming. I have worked on many computers with components riddled with dust by owners who think thier computer is clean using a vaccuum technique. Install a temperature monitoring program to display the running temps of the CPU and hard drives. I use Core Temp, http://majorgeeks.com/Core_Temp_d5665.html and Speecy, http://www.piriform.com/speccy. These are excellent utilities with a small footprint and are free. Make sure the CPU fan is operational and fan speed adequate. Reapplying new thermal paste to the cooler may lower temps as well as upgrading the cooling system. Other hardware problems can cause this issue such as faulty RAM or a dying Power Supply. Try reseating all your components, swapping out your RAM, or running Memtest 86+ at boot up to check your memory. http://www.memtest.org/ Just burn it to a disk and reboot your computer with the disk installed.

    On the software side of things, I would rule out virus activity with virus scans using your McAfee, Superanitspyware, MalwareBytes, or Spybot. Is there a correlation with any of the following:
    1. Have you loaded any new drivers lately?
    2. Installed any new programs?
    3. Recent updates
    4. Is there anything specific that initiates the shutdown other than using Excel?

    Enter safe mode and try a system restore.

    Post back and update your status
    HTH,
    Maud
    Last edited by Maudibe; 2012-10-02 at 22:42.

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    Magna (2012-10-03)

  5. #3
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    Until you get your problem fixed you may want to tell Excel to create a backup every 2 minutes, instead of the default 10.

    Up to Excel 2003 I believe this was done through Tools, Options, Save. In 2007 and 2010 it should be File (or the Orb for 2007) Options Save. You'll find a checkbox "Save Autorecover information every __ minutes.

    Good luck!

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    Magna (2012-10-03)

  7. #4
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    Maudibe may be right

    Thanks for your help. I think you may be right about the heat.

    The computer is a Toshiba Satellite that has always run hot. However, I do blow it out with air every three months and I use it atop a fan lap desk that blows away the hot air with reasonable efficiency. I can heat the office area with it.

    My Excel spreadsheets are BIG with heavy interlinks within and across a large number of sheets and I may have two or three of these models open at a time. It could be that the strain on Mother birthing the answer into the world is too great.

    As to the drivers, etc., I did recently load some piece of garbage but within a few minutes closed it and went for a restore. I always set a restore point before loading new stuff and set a restore point once a day regardless.

    Now I'm wondering if I need a new computer. I'm happy with this one; dual core, 4GB. I could move to a Quad-core, 8GB.

    I also wonder if some auto-installed updates have caused the problem. For example:

    • A graphics program that has been 'old but reliable' has suddenly refused to load normally and has to be pried open.
    • This program and another from the same suite seem no longer to be cooperating properly.
    • The way other infrequently-used programs work may have changed -- I get unexpected screens and orders of operation but I can't recall exactly what changed.
    I reviewed the list of updates to the system and can't identify anything unusual.
    • I'll start cleaning out the fan every month.
    • I'll start searching for a cool-running machine near the max for laptop power. Maybe I need a custom build.
    • I'd reset the Excel backup from 10 minutes to 2 or 3 minutes, but the size of my models is so large that I can't afford to tie up the CPU that long. I'd never get any calculations done.
    It's another of life's many computer mysteries. When does someone finally invent the unimpeachable, immutable, all-encompassing, absolutely reliable combination of machine and software?

  8. #5
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    Overheating might shut down the PC, but will not - in any circumstances - shut down an individual application.

    Neither do I think that the upgrade you are thinking about is necessary.

    I'd take the simple first step of uninstalling Excel and reinstalling it. Crude, but it will clean out any side effects of other software you may have installed, and will narrow down your field of search for a proper solution.

    In passing, does your Event Log give any clues - look for critical items around the time that one of the Excel shutdowns happened, and double click on it to get further details.

  9. #6
    5 Star Lounger Maudibe's Avatar
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    Must disagree with Martin. Overheating can cause all sorts of problem and is unpredictable. It can cause an overheated CPU and or RAM to cause system errors, crash a program by locking it up, or spontaneously closing it with or without a spontaneous shut down. Do you feel a sufficient amout of air movement from the vents? Install CoreTemp and monitor your CPU temp. Reseat your RAM. Because it is a laptop, your are more limited with hardware resolutions if it is a hardware problem unless your computer is worth the repair $$ or you feel confident to take it apart and do testing. As Martin Suggests, you can reinstall Excel but doubt if Excel is soley responsible for a spontaneous shutdown without a blue screen.
    Last edited by Maudibe; 2012-10-07 at 13:41. Reason: spelling

  10. #7
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    The (healthy) disagreement between Maud and myself simply highlights that you need to look at the Event Log to find out what's happening with your PC at the time of one of these incidents.

    I wan't at all sure that Excel was the problem, but suggested reinstalling it as one step in eliminating possibilities, a tedious process that you will probably end up doing. The more structured you make that process, the more surely you will come to the correct answer.
    Last edited by MartinM; 2012-10-08 at 11:57.

  11. #8
    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    As you're a self-confessed 'heavy user' of Excel, it may be that there was a memory leak, or other resource over used, causing Excel to 'disappear'. If you use x86 Windows, there's a limit of 2GB on a process.

    I wouldn't rule out McAfee involvement somewhere, I'd uninstall it for testing (use their tool to ensure it's all gone), install MSE and check that the windows built-in firewall is active.

    Then check though the System and application logs for errors etc. during the time around the crash.

  12. #9
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    What's in the log

    This is the last incident. I can't interpret it. It was followed by several messages, the gist of which was that it wan't repeating. Since 9/28 the log contains no further incidents of crashing but I have been using another computer for my work:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    9/28 12:08:51 A crash has occurred. Office Diagnostics are running to determine whether there is evidence of repeated problems.

    System

    ProviderName Microsoft Office 12 Diagnostics
    EventID201
    Qualifiers 0
    Level 4
    Task 0
    Keywords0x80000000000000

    TimeCreated
    SystemTime 2012-09-28T07:08:51.000Z
    EventRecordID 148
    Channel ODiag
    Computer TOSHIBA
    Security
    EventData

  13. #10
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    This mildly strengthens the case for an Excel (or Office) reinstall.

    You have nothing to lose, and if it isn't Office you will have eliminated that possibility.

    At a guess (no more) you have a conflict between Excel and some other software - difficult to say at a distance, but reinstalling Excel may well re-establish it in its correct configuration.

    PS http://social.technet.microsoft.com/...rformance.aspx
    Last edited by MartinM; 2012-10-11 at 04:52.

  14. #11
    5 Star Lounger Maudibe's Avatar
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    Following Martin's link, it appears that Excel generated this error by delaying Windows from shutting down. "This application caused a delay in the system shutdown process". Several questions remain:
    1. What caused Windows to shutdown in the first place? Before you go knocking your head around trying to troubleshoot Windows, please rule out an overheating problem using Core Temp. I hope Martin is right but humor an old man!
    2. Does this problem of spontaneous shutdown exist outside of using Excel?
    3. Could the problem be reproduced by stressing the system with Prime 95?
    4. Have you tried restoring your system to a restore point prior to the time the problem started? You shouldn't need to create a daily restore point as you quickly fill the reserved HD space and may overwrite a restore point you may need.

    Please post if you ever find the cause of the problem as many others with similar issues may benefit. Many thanks to those like Satrow, Martin, and Big Mac who offer their knowledge and input that make this site helpful to others

    Maud

  15. #12
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    I did encounter spontaneous shutdowns of Excel (version 2003, when I was still at work, around six years ago). I traced it to my use of an unusual, and unofficial, Excel formatting trick, the one where you can give a conditional format to cells containing formulas. It worked fine in the cells where I had installed it, but whenever I cut-and-pasted cells with this format, bang, down it went. The formatting trick was very useful, but I became very wary about copying and moving cells thus formatted.

    This may have nothing to do with your situation. Good luck with finding a solution, because I do remember finding this very frustrating.

  16. #13
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    If the problem is over-heating, you can help dissipate the heat by aiming a small desk fan at the laptop's keyboard, which should allow you to work longer. If your spreadsheet is formula-intensive, you might consider temporarily turning the off automatic calculations as you enter data, then use the F-9 key to force the spreadsheet to recalculate as needed. The automatic/manual recalculation function can be adjusted in TOOLS - OPTIONS - Calculation Tab.

    HTH!
    Candy G

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