Climbing the corporate ladder requires an individual to learn certain skills, including superior number-crunching powers and an excellent handle on various formulas on Microsoft Excel. This program is essential in organizing large amounts of data in logical and orderly charts and spreadsheets. As complicated as the tool is, it can get even more problematic when it becomes riddled with errors.

One of the issues that users encounter is the ‘Microsoft Excel is trying to recover your information’ error message. According to complaints, the problem comes up even when the user is simply browsing Excel files via File Explorer. Now, you might ask, “

What is the ‘Microsoft Excel is trying to recover your information’ error?

Well, there are a lot of reasons why this issue can occur. For instance, there could be a false positive in your anti-virus. Among the many other causes, there could be conflicting applications on your computer.

If you’re experiencing the same problem, don’t worry. In this post, we are going to teach you how to get rid of the ‘Microsoft Excel is trying to recover your information’ error message. We will also explain the issue at length, allowing you to prevent it from happening again.

What Causes the ‘Microsoft Excel Is Trying to Recover Your Information’ Error?

  • A false positive in your anti-virus – The responsibility of your anti-virus is to protect your device from malicious threats and attacks. Sometimes, security programs identify macros or add-ins in Excel as malware. This glitch, commonly referred to as a false positive, can restrict various features of Excel, causing the error message to appear.
  • Conflicts on the preview pane – Incompatibility with the Preview pane functionality of File Explorer can also trigger the error.
  • Applications interfering with each other – Some programs can interfere with Excel’s operations. To get rid of the error, you’ll need to ensure that you don’t have the conflicting applications on your computer.
  • Out-of-date Microsoft Excel – Microsoft keeps Excel free of bugs by releasing updates regularly. Now, if you have an outdated version, you’ll likely encounter the error message.
  • Out-of-date operating system – Windows 10 will continue to operate efficiently if you install regular updates. If you have an outdated OS build, then your device will be vulnerable to error messages like the one we’re discussing in this article.
  • Incorrectly installed Office or Excel – A corrupted Office or Excel installation can also cause various problems on the program, including the ‘Microsoft Excel is trying to recover your information’ error.
  • Conflicting Microsoft Excel add-ins – While add-ins improve Excel’s functionality, they can also be vulnerable to corruption. When this happens, the issue can trigger different errors.
  • The default printer is incompatible with Excel – When you’re using an incompatible default printer, Excel will fail to communicate correctly with it. It can also force the program to spew out errors.
  • Corrupted user files – Incorrectly configured and corrupted user files are among the reasons why the error occurs.
  • Corrupted macros – If you’re trying to open an old spreadsheet in the latest version of Excel, chances are the file contains outdated macros that can cause error messages.
  • Incorrectly configured region settings – An incorrectly configured regional format on Excel is one of the reasons why the error shows up.

Before Anything Else…

  • Make sure that the problem affects the entire Excel program and not a single file only. If the error shows up on a particular file, try repairing it. If you’ve concluded that Excel is indeed causing the issue, you can try the solutions below.
  • Are you modifying an Excel file that is stored on the network? If so, then download it and try editing it locally.
  • Check if there are external links in the spreadsheet. Whether you find them in the formulas, charts, range names, hidden sheets, shapes, or queries, you should remove them to resolve the error.
  • Try opening a single spreadsheet on Excel to see if that will fix the error.
  • Remove the password protection of the Excel file.
  • Are you trying to open a file that was created through a different application apart from Excel? If so, opt for a different app instead of Excel.
  • Avoid changing the name of the file on File Explorer. Open it on Excel, then use the Save As function.
  • If you’re working on an Excel file with several shapes and formatting, make sure that your computer has enough RAM to accommodate the load.

Solution 1: Disabling Your Antivirus Temporarily

As we’ve mentioned, the error can occur when your anti-virus recognizes your macros as malicious threats. A workaround for this false positive is disabling your security program temporarily. Now, if the issue goes away after you disabled your antivirus, then you’ve determined that the app is indeed causing the error. Unfortunately, this method can leave your computer vulnerable to malware and viruses. In this case, we recommend that you switch to a different anti-virus.

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Solution 2: Disabling File Explorer’s Preview Pane

Windows consistently improves user experience by introducing features like the Details, Navigation, and Preview panes on File Explorer. With the Preview pane, you’ll be able to see the contents of a file without opening it. For instance, you can select a Word document, then on the Preview pane, you will see what’s in the file and even browse through the content. Unfortunately, this feature has been known to cause various problems, including the error message explained in this article. So, we recommend that you disable this functionality by following the steps below:

  1. On your keyboard, press Windows Key+E to open File Explorer.
  2. Go to the View tab, then click Preview Pane.
  3. Now, try launching Excel and see if it can function without the error message.

Solution 3: Running Excel in Safe Mode

Problematic add-ins or Excel startup settings can keep the program stuck in the ‘recovering information’ status. Thankfully, there’s a built-in feature in Excel that allows users to launch the application with basic functionality. Try launching the program in Safe Mode to bypass the affected add-ins. To do that, follow the instructions below:

  1. Launch the Run dialog box by pressing Windows Key+R on your keyboard.
  2. Once the Run dialog box is up, type “excel.exe/safe” (no quotes).
  3. Click OK.

After completing these steps, check if you no longer see the error message.

Solution 4: Disabling Add-Ins on Excel

As we’ve mentioned, add-ins significantly improve the functionality of Excel. However, poorly written add-ins from an outdated version of Excel can interfere with the latest version of the program. When this happens, you will get stuck in an endless loop of ‘trying to recover your information’. In this case, we suggest that you disable Excel add-ins. You can do that through these steps:

  1. Try opening the affected Excel file. If you cannot do so, you can launch the program via Windows 10 Safe Mode.
  2. Once the file is open, go to the menu and click Options.
  3. Select Add-ins from the left-pane options.
  4. Move to the right pane, then click the drop-down list beside Manage.
  5. Choose the add-ins you want to manage, then click Go.
  6. Deselect all the boxes, then click OK.
  7. Save the file, close it, then reopen it.

If Excel starts to function normally, then one of the add-ins is indeed causing the error. You need to find out which one of them is the culprit. You can do this by enabling them one by one until you’ve identified what’s behind the error.

Solution 5: Recompiling Macros

There are endless possibilities with macros. However, there are times when they come into conflict with Excel’s operations. We suggest that you recompile the macros to see if that fixes the error. Here are the steps:

  1. Launch Excel, then press Alt+F11 on your keyboard to access Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications.
  2. Go to the menu bar, then click Tools.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Options.
  4. Once you get to the Options window, go to the General tab, then deselect the ‘Compile on Demand’ option.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click the Insert menu on Visual Basic, then select Module.
  7. Go to the Debug menu, then click Compile VBA Project.
  8. Click File, then select Save.
  9. Click File again, then select the ‘Close and Return to Microsoft Excel’ option.
  10. Save and close the file.

Relaunch Excel, then check if it is functioning without issues.

Solution 6: Disabling Macros

If you’re running a spreadsheet with macros designed for an older version of Excel, you may experience compatibility issues. In this case, the best solution is to disable the macros. You can do that by following the steps below:

  1. Launch Excel. If you are unable to do this, you can open it in Safe Mode.
  2. Go to the File menu, then click Options.
  3. From the left-pane menu, click Trust Center.
  4. Move to the right pane, then click Trust Center Settings.
  5. Select Macro Settings from the menu on the left.
  6. Go to the right pane, then select the ‘Disable all macros without notification’ option.
  7. Now, go back to the left-pane menu and click Trusted Documents.
  8. On the right pane, deselect the ‘Allow Documents on a Network to be trusted’ option.
  9. Select Disable Trusted Documents, then click OK.
  10. Save the file, then close it.

Launch Excel to see if the issue has been resolved.

Solution 7: Configuring Excel’s Regional Settings

To get rid of the error, you must ensure that your region and language settings correspond to your actual location. You can do that by following these instructions:

  1. Go to your taskbar, then click the Search icon.
  2. Inside the Search box, type “Region” (no quotes).
  3. Select Region Settings from the results.
  4. On the right pane, click the drop-down menu under Country or Region.
  5. Select an option that matches your actual location.
  6. Click the drop-down list under Regional Format.
  7. Select the recommended regional format.
  8. Restart your computer.

After relaunching the system, try opening Excel to see if the problem is gone.

Solution 8: Changing Your Default Printer

Whenever you start Excel, it communicates with the default printer on your operating system. If the process is unsuccessful, the error message may come up. If this is the case, the recommended solution is to change your default printer. Any printer will do, but ideally, a soft printer like Microsoft XPS Document Writer will do the trick.

  1. Close Excel.
  2. On your keyboard, press the Windows key.
  3. Type “Printers” (no quotes), then select Printers and Scanners from the results.
  4. On the right pane, select Microsoft XPS Document Writer.
  5. Click Manage.
  6. Once you get to the Microsoft XPS Document Writer management window, click the ‘Set as default’ option.
  7. Launch Excel, then check if it is now functioning normally.

Solution 9: Updating Microsoft Excel

  1. Open Excel, then go to the File tab.
  2. Select Account on the left-pane menu.
  3. Go to the right pane, then click Update Options.
  4. Select Update Now.
  5. Once the update process is complete, restart your computer and relaunch Excel.

Solution 10: Creating a New User Account

Corrupted user files can put Excel into an endless loop of recovering your information. In this case, you can create a new user account with administrative privileges. Here are the steps:

  1. The first thing you need to do is create a new local administrator account.
  2. Once you’ve created a new user account, navigate to the path below:


  1. Select all the items in the folder by pressing Ctrl+A on your keyboard.
  2. Delete the items by clicking Shift+Delete on your keyboard. Don’t mind the files that you are unable to remove.
  3. Restart your computer, then check if the issue has been resolved.

Which of the solutions helped you fix the Excel error?

Let us know in the comments below!