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Excel automation error after Windows update

TAGS: Excel - Technical

DATE: Mon 20 Aug 2012
BY: Stephen Aldridge

Excel automation error after Windows update

Recently some of you may have found that, after installing Windows updates that were issued on Patch Tuesday in August 2012, Excel would throw a non-specific ‘Automation Error’ when you tried fire it up. Hmm, not great when you’re trying to get some work done.

From our testing, this seems to happen with the 32-bit versions of Excel 2007 and 2010 (and possibly earlier versions too) where an add-in is loaded on startup (be it a 3rd party add-in or your Personal.xlsm) that has controls from the Windows Common Control library (mscomctl.ocx – things like the TreeView, ProgressBar and Slider controls.)

Fortunately, there seems to be a simple fix to this as follows:

1. Close Excel.

2. Open a command prompt with elevated privileges (i.e. right-click cmd.exe and choose ‘Run as Administrator’).

3. Type the following at the prompt depending on which version of Windows you’re running:

a. For 32-bit Windows: regsvr32 “C:WindowsSystem32MSCOMCTL.OCX”

b. For 64-bit Windows: regsvr32 “C:WindowsSysWOW64MSCOMCTL.OCX”

This action simply re-registers the mscomctl.ocx library on your system. After doing this you should find that Excel starts behaving again. If not, then we also found that performing a ‘Repair’ of Excel using your original MS Office installation media also worked.

For more useful information in and around using excel please see our Tips & Tricks page or read more of our blogs. There are also some very useful information on our insights page which you may also find informative and relevant form viewing this post.

As a company that specialises in excel modelling needs and excel solutions we are always here to help with any excel related enquiry. Please feel free to contact us through this link.

Stephen Aldridge BSc, MBA, ACMA

Stephen is a Chartered Management Accountant and has over ten years of financial modelling experience both at KPMG and Deloitte. His early career included engineering, sales and corporate management roles. In 2004, Stephen joined Numeritas as a co-owner and a Managing Director.

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