Excel 2003 slow opening files over network

Here’s the fix for slowness opening Excel 2003 files over the network.
A customer recently complained that opening Excel 2003 files over the network drive was very slow and seemed to cause Excel to hang. However if you took that same Excel file and copied it to the local computer the slowness went away.

A search for this type of problem revealed a few different answers, however this solution seems to work for most people:



  • Remove the 4/07/2011 Excel security update KB2541025.

I tried other resolutions offered, however this was the one that resolved the slowness for me (other solutions are offered below). It seems Microsoft has introduced some security checks regarding remote code execution that breaks or severely slows down opening files over the network. No doubt an update will follow but it is not available as of this writing.

[Update: I had another XP computer that I also had to additionally uninstall the KB2502786 update]


How to remove this Excel Security Update:

To remove this update from within Microsoft Windows XP, go to Add/Remove Programs and click the checkbox at the top of the window to Show Updates. Now scroll down until you see the KB number shown above and uninstall it. I reboot the customer’s computer afterwards just to be sure there’s no residual information in the Windows Registry.

After removing this update Excel was again able to open files over the network.

Note: Be careful that this update does not get pulled again on the next Windows Update sequence.

Other things to try:
One of the comments below also suggests: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2570623, option 4

– Microsoft Support
– Check your DDE
– Check the comments below.
– Thanks to Steve Harman over at Techarena for offering this fix!


About the Author

Guy is owner of Trusted Technology Inc, a Canadian based company. With 20+ years experience Guy provides managed IT support services to small businesses and non profits across Canada.

18 Comments on "Excel 2003 slow opening files over network"

  1. I used option 4 and it worked brilliantly but after about a week or so it started disappearing of computers and needed to be run again. Does anyone know of a way to keep it more permanent or is one of the other options more long term?

  2. We had a similar problem with a 2,5MB excel file – roughly 10,000 lines of data spread over 15 columns. Tried everything above – nothing helped. Open it over the network – 30 seconds, open from the desktop – 2 seconds. I found that be removing all the hyperlinks from email addresses in one column resolved the problem instantly. You can write a macro that will accomplish this in one shot.

  3. I just uninstalled the damn thing through Add/Remove Programs…

  4. Nice post! Found it as the top Google hit & resolved my hanging Excel 2003 issue in minutes!

  5. Thank you SO much for this! “Other things to try” option 4 did the trick perfectly!

    • Excellent – glad it helped! Thanks for the comment.

    • Just did option #4 on the Microsoft Support Site. I used the “Microsoft Fix It” option and it worked just great. Solved this headache with little work on my part, except researching it like a mad man. THANKS TO ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS.

  6. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2570623
    apply the Method 4 fix it works like a charm

  7. I run in this problem some month ago and solve it with removal of KB2541025, I expected that Microsoft solve it but after changing our WSUS server today I run in the same problem again! in my experience it affected only excel 2003 and not 2007, folders are shared within 2003 active directory

  8. This worked for me as well. Thanks for finding the solution!

  9. Also be aware of the Office File Validation patch which also drags opening Excel files from a network location.


  10. It worked for me.

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