Excel 2007 screen lock up

Has anyone seen this issue:

Excel having a little rest

Excel having a little rest

I’ve seen a few mentions on-line but really just a bunch of superstition about what causes it and what might fix it. I’ve seen it on multiple machines, some are big beasts so its not a hardware resource issue. (printer and video drivers have been implicated from what I have read).

There is no workbook open, and I hadn’t been hammering Excel when this happened.

Excel has not crashed, it seems like the effluent UI has just given up the ghost and gone back to space station zebra, and taken its bat and ball. Some keyboard shortcuts sometimes get a response, Excel will close on the X, so the Excel process still seems healthy – but the UI has died. (app.screenupdating has no effect)

I have only seen it in Excel none of the other O2007 apps. Outlook is implicated too – launching workbook attachments seems a frequent cause of this freeze.

Although the dialog showing looks recent, I have had the same dialog in a windows 3.11 stylee.

I have seen it most often when coming back from the screensaver, its as if Excel never gets the message to repaint itself. (hmm I wonder who might be subclassing that?? (ribboneers I’m looking at you!)) Or run out of video resources?

I had waited about an hour before I could get the screenshot – when this happens prntscreen does not work. Only once the resource dialog appears does print screen start working again.

Anyone else seen this? any ideas on a fix? (has the ribbon found out how rubbish I think it is??)

[its hard to investigate as it only happens once or twice a day on my box, so is hard to replicate. I’ve done removing add-ins, changing default printers, opening and closing other apps, its multiple machines so its not a hardware issue, or that black theme. All ideas welcome…]



23 Responses to “Excel 2007 screen lock up”

  1. Harlan Grove Says:

    System resources were never exclusively about hardware (RAM or free disk space). There are structures in Windows that are actually fixed size arrays, and if you use up all of their entries, Windows has no more of that resource no matter how much free RAM or disk space they may still be.

    Which Windows version are you using? How many printers do you have in your Printers folder? What services are running?

  2. Simon Says:

    Win XP SP2
    1 (HP) printer plus the XPS document printer
    What services? – hundreds including Norton Virus and desktop management s/w
    Yeah I see what you mean about the fixed sizes, Excel always had that RAM limit, which I think they raised in 2007 from 1Gb to 2GB?

  3. dougaj4 Says:

    I haven’t had this problem, and I’m using XL2007 all day every day (mostly with Vista, occaisional use on another machine with XP).

    I don’t use a screensaver. Have you tried switching yours off?

  4. Jayson Says:

    i used to get that a lot in xl2003. I’ve gotten the resources message a few times in 2007, but the file was still fully functional after getting the message.

  5. Aytekin Says:

    We have been having this problem for a while. Unfortunately, I did not managed to find a solution, however in my case the cause of this issue seems to be GDI Objects.

    For some strange reason Excel 2007 continuously creates GDI Objects until it reaches it’s limit (10000 is the default value in XP). Despite increasing the GDIProcessHandleQuota in XP to 16000, my excel still gives me the same error message.

    The only solution I came up with was to restart excel when it reaches 10000 GDI Objects. It’s not ideal, but it’s a work around.

    I hope this helps.

  6. jonpeltier Says:

    Aytekin –

    How long does it take Excel 2007 to reach 10k GDI Objects?

    In the beta, I’d noticed that Excel 12, as it was then known, got up near 10k pretty quickly. When I reported this, it was disregarded in favor of other more pressing characteristics of Office 12.

    I have not bothered to check since the beta, because I don’t use Office 2007 much, and only in a VMwhich doesn’t stay open too long before I kill it.

  7. Aytekin Says:


    It takes around 30-45 minutes before excel 2007 starts coming up with resource low message (with all add-ins enabled). I hope it’s one of the add-ins causing this GDI issue, having said that though my director has the same issue and she has very few add-ins enabled.

  8. calther Says:

    I get this problem too. The most common occurrences seem to revolve around running workbooks from Outlook 2007 and embedded workbooks in PowerPoint 2007. I use a lot of spreadsheets in compatibility mode as many co-workers still are on 2003.

    I am running 2007 on an XP machine sp2.

  9. Simon Says:

    I added GDI objects to my task manager but Excel never went over 1,000. Outlook had 3,000 handles at one point though. I’ve left it running overnight in the hope it will fail overnight.
    I’d be interested to know which add-ins you have enabled as I don’t see the rapid rise you see. (I have few if any add-ins running)

    Calther – yep launching from Outlook is one that others report, I don’t get it but maybe I’m doing something wrong/right. Havent tried the powerpoint one.

    Are you guys working on managed desktops? do you have market data feeds? PDF add-ins? Other non standard stuff?

  10. calther Says:

    I am not on a managed a desktop and the only add-in I use is Chart Chooser from Microsoft.

  11. ross Says:

    Whats a managed desktop? Server-thin client type thingy?

  12. Simon Says:

    Ross what I meant was a place where they use SMS or Altiris or some other software admin tool to keep track of what is on desktops, and deploy new stuff as required. These can take up a chunk of resources.

  13. Aytekin Says:


    I will check which add-in is causing the GDI issue. I will post the results on here.

  14. Simon Says:

    That would be great if you could.

    I go this error today – I watched my GDI object count go up by 4 a second continuously. I left my desk for half an hour. when I got back Excel was frozen and my GDI object count was up at 9,999 (10k is the default max in XP).

    I couldn’t replicate the problem again. I’ll try again tomorrow.

    Jon you don’t remember the circumstances in which you saw it do you?

  15. jonpeltier Says:

    Simon –

    That was way back in the beta. I don’t remember anything from that long ago.

  16. Aytekin Says:


    I removed all add-ins and started the tedious task of adding them one at a time. So far I am not getting any GDI issue, however I will keep an eye on this.

    I have the following add-ins enabled

    – Standard excel add-ins
    – Extools_rx
    – SqlServer.Datamining
    – Morefunc12
    – JMT Excel Utilities 2007
    – Navadd-In (contexture)
    – Business Functions
    – Name Manager Utility
    – Quantlib

    What add-ins are you running?

  17. Simon Says:

    I don’t really have any running
    although it does seem to follow loading and unloading stuff that adds old style menus and toolbars.
    To me it seems most dependent on what you are doing. It happens from late morning onwards.
    From your list I have none. And nothing is checked in tools addins, and no COM addins are loaded. but I havent had the problem for the last few days either.
    opening workbooks from outlook or IE apparently cause it (sometimes) too.

  18. Drew Says:

    I am having the same issue with excel 2007 with almost the exact same scenario:
    not activly using excel
    mostly happens after screensaver
    outlook is running
    exact same icon issue from screenshot
    GDI object 9999
    Multiple IE windows open (3000 GDI objects)
    98% of the workbooks I use are opened in compatibility mode.

    Here are my add-ins:
    DrillToPIA PeopleSoft\excel\DrillToPIA.xla Excel Add-in
    SnagIt Add-in TechSmith\SnagIt 6\SnagItOfficeAddin.dll COM Add-in

    Budgets nVision Process Log PeopleSoft\excel\GLLOG.XLT Excel Add-in
    Jrnlmcro PeopleSoft\excel\JRNLMCRO.xla Excel Add-in
    Nvsgo PeopleSoft\excel\Nvsgo.xla Excel Add-in
    Person Name (Outlook e-mail recipients) Smart Tag\FNAME.DLL Smart Tag
    Date (Smart tag lists) Smart Tag\MOFL.DLL Smart Tag
    Financial Symbol (Smart tag lists) Smart Tag\MOFL.DLL Smart Tag
    Analysis ToolPak Analysis\ANALYS32.XLL Excel Add-in
    Analysis ToolPak – VBA Analysis\ATPVBAEN.XLAM Excel Add-in
    Euro Currency Tools Library\EUROTOOL.XLAM Excel Add-in
    Internet Assistant VBA Library\HTML.XLAM Excel Add-in
    Lookup Wizard Library\LOOKUP.XLAM Excel Add-in
    Solver Add-in SOLVER\SOLVER.XLAM Excel Add-in
    Conditional Sum Wizard Library\SUMIF.XLAM Excel Add-in
    Custom XML Data Office12\OFFRHD.DLL Document Inspector
    Invisible Content Office12\OFFRHD.DLL Document Inspector
    Hidden Worksheets Office12\OFFRHD.DLL Document Inspector
    Headers and Footers Office12\OFFRHD.DLL Document Inspector
    Hidden Rows and Columns Office12\OFFRHD.DLL Document Inspector

    When the excel instance that I was using was locked up with 2 worksheets open. I tried to open another instance of excel and didn’t run into any of the same issues. I then closed the new session. Next I tried to save one of my documents which was in the first session but it was still entitled Book1. But instead of receiving a Save as dialog box it told me to do a save as. So, Then I tried to do a save as and excel recovery came up since excel crashed. I got these logs in the Application and MS Office Sessions event viewer.

    Event Type: Information
    Event Source: Microsoft Office 12
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 1001
    Date: 3/6/2009
    Time: 7:17:23 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ******
    Bucket 1039350103, bucket table 1, faulting application excel.exe, version 12.0.6331.5000, stamp 48fa2869, faulting module mso.dll, version 12.0.6320.5000, stamp 485ae817, debug? 0, fault address 0x006518d0.

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
    0000: 42 00 75 00 63 00 6b 00 B.u.c.k.
    0008: 65 00 74 00 3a 00 20 00 e.t.:. .
    0010: 31 00 30 00 33 00 39 00
    0018: 33 00 35 00 30 00 31 00
    0020: 30 00 33 00 0d 00 0a 00 0.3…..
    0028: 42 00 75 00 63 00 6b 00 B.u.c.k.
    0030: 65 00 74 00 54 00 61 00 e.t.T.a.
    0038: 62 00 6c 00 65 00 20 00 b.l.e. .
    0040: 31 00 0d 00 0a 00 1…..

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Microsoft Office 12
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 1000
    Date: 3/6/2009
    Time: 7:17:09 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ******
    Faulting application excel.exe, version 12.0.6331.5000, stamp 48fa2869, faulting module mso.dll, version 12.0.6320.5000, stamp 485ae817, debug? 0, fault address 0x006518d0.

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.
    0000: 41 00 70 00 70 00 6c 00 A.p.p.l.
    0008: 69 00 63 00 61 00 74 00 i.c.a.t.
    0010: 69 00 6f 00 6e 00 20 00 i.o.n. .
    0018: 46 00 61 00 69 00 6c 00 F.a.i.l.
    0020: 75 00 72 00 65 00 20 00 u.r.e. .
    0028: 20 00 65 00 78 00 63 00 .e.x.c.
    0030: 65 00 6c 00 2e 00 65 00 e.l…e.
    0038: 78 00 65 00 20 00 31 00 x.e. .1.
    0040: 32 00 2e 00 30 00 2e 00 2…0…
    0048: 36 00 33 00 33 00 31 00
    0050: 2e 00 35 00 30 00 30 00 ..5.0.0.
    0058: 30 00 20 00 34 00 38 00 0. .4.8.
    0060: 66 00 61 00 32 00 38 00 f.a.2.8.
    0068: 36 00 39 00 20 00 69 00 6.9. .i.
    0070: 6e 00 20 00 6d 00 73 00 n. .m.s.
    0078: 6f 00 2e 00 64 00 6c 00 o…d.l.
    0080: 6c 00 20 00 31 00 32 00 l. .1.2.
    0088: 2e 00 30 00 2e 00 36 00 ..0…6.
    0090: 33 00 32 00 30 00 2e 00 3.2.0…
    0098: 35 00 30 00 30 00 30 00
    00a0: 20 00 34 00 38 00 35 00 .4.8.5.
    00a8: 61 00 65 00 38 00 31 00 a.e.8.1.
    00b0: 37 00 20 00 66 00 44 00 7. .f.D.
    00b8: 65 00 62 00 75 00 67 00 e.b.u.g.
    00c0: 20 00 30 00 20 00 61 00 .0. .a.
    00c8: 74 00 20 00 6f 00 66 00 t. .o.f.
    00d0: 66 00 73 00 65 00 74 00 f.s.e.t.
    00d8: 20 00 30 00 30 00 36 00 .0.0.6.
    00e0: 35 00 31 00 38 00 64 00 5.1.8.d.
    00e8: 30 00 0d 00 0a 00 0…..

    Event Type: Error
    Event Source: Microsoft Office 12 Sessions
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 7001
    Date: 3/6/2009
    Time: 7:16:53 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: *******
    ID: 1, Application Name: Microsoft Office Excel, Application Version: 12.0.6331.5000, Microsoft Office Version: 12.0.6215.1000. This session lasted 12631 seconds with 960 seconds of active time. This session ended with a crash.

    Just before excel crashed completely, the event log has 3 entries similar to below, however I don’t remember trying to start excel.

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: Microsoft Office 12 Sessions
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 7003
    Date: 3/6/2009
    Time: 7:14:17 PM
    User: N/A
    Computer: ******
    ID: 1, Application Name: Microsoft Office Excel, Application Version: 12.0.6331.5000, Microsoft Office Version: 12.0.6215.1000. This session was terminated unexpectedly.

    This this happens at least once a week if not more.
    I also notice this more when I am VPN’d into work, connecting to my work desktop using remote desktop connection, and I walk awak from my laptop and both screen savers have come on.

  19. Jan Ahlin Says:

    I too am having the same “resource” issues with Excel 2007 running on WinXP Pro. It happens at least once a day. I only have Analysis Toolpak, Analysis Toolpak – VBA, and ASAP Utilities and ASAP Utilities library component add-ins installed.

    I can occur if I have been working with fairly large worksheet sets.

    I can almost always make the resource issue warning and application hang-up occur if I delete a column down all rows even when there is data only in 100 rows.

    I’m not as technical as most of you on this string but, any ideas you might have will be greatly appreciated.

  20. Excel 2007 screen / video issues « Smurf on Spreadsheets Says:

    […] Here I mentioned about a full screen lock-up. We have applied many of the hotfixes released since SP1, which will be rolled up into SP2 due out any minute. This issue (caused by a leakage of GDI objects – possibly caused by graphs or drawing objects) seems now resolved and we have no recent reports of this screen freeze. […]

  21. george Says:

    This exact same thing has happened to me when RTVSCAN.exe (From Norton) is running.

    I still don’t know what causes it. Just today, I lost 3 hours of work because of it.

    I am currently updating my video card driver (radeon x3000). If this doesn’t work then I have no idea.

    I can’t find any solutions from Microsuck.

  22. Jon Peltier Says:

    Norton is evil.

  23. Scott Evans Says:

    It is nice to see that others have this problem. Our helpdesk keeps telling me that no one else in the company has this issue. The same problem has cropped up on every version of excel I have used. I am currently using 2007 (XP).

    The only solution I have found is saving the document and then rebooting. The problem seems to begin with excel but carries over to word and outlook, which basically makes the inteface inoperable from a practical standpoint.

    Given that this problem has been occuring across multiple versions of excel – has anyone ever got a response from Microsoft support?

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