Excel: Open file, blank window – Change Resolution

A user will occasionally call up saying that an Excel file won’t open.  In this particular instance (through some interrogating), what happens is that the user opens the file, Excel opens, but it looks like the file itself did not open; the background of Excel is visible, along with the ribbon, but you don’t see any cell at all.  You can close Excel and re-open as much as you want, but you’ll get the same results.

What you need to do is change the resolution and the window will appear within Excel, but the window is not maximized.  Once the resolution is changed, maximize the window within Excel and you can change the resolution back.

My theory on this is that someone else was working on the file with the window inside Excel not maximized, and they have a different resolution.  When the person with said issue opens the file, the window is in “Restored” mode, but off the screen.  Changing the resolution (for some reason) seems to move the window to a visible portion of the Excel instance.

This was a problem that was extremely bothersome and really hard to research.  How I found the solution was because one user had a terribly low resolution that was bugging the crap out of me, so I minimized Excel, changed the resolution, and then switched back to Excel.  Low and behold, there was the file’s contents.


  • Windows 7 (so far, I’ve only seen this on 32-bit)
  • Excel 2007 (I don’t ever recall this with 2003 or 2002/XP)

Microsoft Outlook – Operation Failed

And we have, yet again, another generalized error message from a program, of which the message says very little and explains even less.

This unfortunate error message only seems to pop up once in a blue moon; I literally only hear about someone getting it maybe twice a year.  What happens is that a user constructs an email and attempts to send it.  Upon hitting send, the dialogue box pops up with “Operation Failed” displayed.  You can close and save the email, but you’ll receive the same error every time you try to send the email.  There is only one resolution to this: construct a brand new email message.  This is the only solution; anything else I’ve tried fails miserably.

Typically, the user is not happy about this, because he/she thinks that they are going to lose all their work.  If the user copies and pastes the body contents of the original (faulty) into the new message, whatever is causing the problem does not get copied over.

Unfortunately, I have never found a reason why this happens.  Because the solution is quick and easy, I personally stopped caring and just fix it for users.