There is no active Protected View window - COMException (0x800401A8) RRS feed

  • Question

  • We have an Excel addin and are starting to see this exception in Excel 2013 when calculating. Sadly, I don't understand what the error message is trying to tell us:

    System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException (0x800401A8): There is no active Protected View window. at Microsoft.Office.Interop.Excel._Worksheet.Calculate()

    We have a mechanism for detecting "Protected View" but this doesn't have anything to do with it - because here Excel is throwing the error. And the sheet being calculated is not in Protected View mode.

    Sometimes, we get the same error but without the text "There is no active Protected View window". 

    Admittedly, it seems to be the case that the file being calculated is either downloaded from Sharepoint or a network path - or when downloaded from IE (because it doesn't save the file to disk as other browsers do - another topic perhaps).

    In the case of one user where the sheet is downloaded from Sharepoint, the error keeps showing on every calculate() (Shift/F9) and the user has to download the sheet onto their local drive, open it from there, for the calculation to work.

    Since Excel is throwing the error from it's own attempt to calculate(), it doesn't seem that there's anything we have done or can do. Though we do initiate the calculation via our addin.

    So, I suspect it's an internal error (ie bug) that doesn't really mean anything because it suddenly appeared and is becoming more and more common, for us, after making its debut around May 2015.

    Any ideas?

    • Moved by Cindy Meister MVP Friday, July 24, 2015 3:05 PM Excel-related
    • Edited by PandaWood Monday, July 27, 2015 4:32 AM clarification of one point
    Thursday, July 23, 2015 5:14 AM

All replies

  • Hi Panda

    Occasionally, error message pop up in Office that are a "default" in a logic chain but have absolutely no bearing on the actual cause. Also, it's non unknown for updates to break things...

    I'd like to move your question to the more specialized Excel for Developers forum where there are more people that might have enountered what you're experiencing, if that's OK with you?

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Thursday, July 23, 2015 4:34 PM
  • Thanks Cindy, that's fine to move it where you think is better.
    Friday, July 24, 2015 1:14 AM
  • According to your description, I suggest that you could disable the excel add-in or try to test on other machine, Can you see this exception when calculating? Otherwise could you provide more details about your excel add-in? Sample code and environment that will help us to reproduce and resolve your issue.
    Thursday, July 30, 2015 8:27 AM
  • Hi David,

    I can't reproduce the issue either. I'm really just looking for high-level advice or similar experience, like what does this error even mean?

    No one yet has any idea... so I'm hoping someone from Microsoft might show an interest.

    We now have around 10 different users reporting this error to us, with the same stack trace.

    So the question becomes: How does one begin to know where to look when Excel is throwing the error (on it's own code) and the error is meaningless?

    Forgive me, but I doubt it will be useful for me to provide sample code or environment until I can reproduce the issue myself.

    Though I can say the addin has been released and working for years. This error just crept up on us... so I suspect it's some kind of internal bug or change in Excel.

    • Edited by PandaWood Friday, July 31, 2015 12:58 AM
    Friday, July 31, 2015 12:19 AM
  • Since the issue is complex, I suggest you contacting Microsoft support to raise an incident so that our engineer could work closely with him to identify the root cause and resolve this issue as soon as possible.
    If the support engineer determines that the issue is the result of a bug the service request will be a no-charge case and you won't be charged. Please visit the below link to see the various paid support options that are available to better meet your needs.;en-us;offerprophone
    • Proposed as answer by David_JunFeng Thursday, August 13, 2015 9:12 AM
    Monday, August 3, 2015 2:34 AM