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VSTO problem - cannot create visual studio excel workbook project RRS feed

  • Question

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    When I try to create a Excel 2007 Workbook project, in Visual Studio 2008, I get the following errormessage:

        Project cannot be created because the "Excel Visual Studio Design-Time Adaptor Add-in" is not working correctly. Excel might have disabled the add-in or made it inactive, or all add-ins might be disabled in your Trust Center settings. Check the add-in status in Excel Options. If the add-in is active and enabled, reinstall or repair Visual Studio Tools for Office.

    I have verified that the add-in is not inactive or disabled and I have tried to repair and uninstall/reinstall VSTO several times.

    I have followed the instructions given at the following link:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb386131.aspx

    I have also repaired Office, which was a trial in itself, as the repair program kept giving me a message that the the setup bootstrapper failed and therefore could not repair office. I am able to repair office by changing some DEP settings within System Properties and adding the Setup installation program. This allows the Office installation to run and repair Office. Here is a the link to how I managed this. This solution takes a long time, about 45 minutes to repair office and then about another 10 minutes for a reboot!

    http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/vistainstall/thread/6ba57aff-f02c-4544-9ec8-78faf70e3f44

    I have also tried a full uninstall/reinstall of Office which takes at least 2 hours! I had to modify the DEP settings to allow Office to completely unistall/reinstall.

    I have also run the repair program for Visual Studio, which again takes a long time!

    When I run the VSTO trouble shooter program it tells me that Excel, Word, Outlook, Powerpoint, and InfoPath are not installed, even after running the Office 2007 repair program! They run perfectly on my machine and are 100% installed It comes up clear for all the Office 2007 PIAs. The VSTO Runtime for 2008 gives the thumbs up also.

    I have been battling this problem for about 4 days now. Yesterday I had some success when everything worked and the Excel Spreadsheet Designer appeared in visual studio. However today when I double clicked a worksheet I again got the dreaded error message as above and once again the whole system is inoperable. Whilst the VSTO were working the output of the VSTO Troubleshooter was as above. I will attempt a new repair of Office once again to see if it helps.

    I am running Vista Ultimate, VS 2008 Team Suite, Office 2007 Ultimate. It is very frustrating having invested so much money (and time) on very expensive software that I am unable to accomplish such seemingly simple things as intalling my tools and having them work! My worry is that this problem is going to persist and I am going to waste even more time just trying to get the tools to run rather than actual coding, I am losing confidence in these tools! Do they actually work? Should I give up?

    I appreciate any help anyone may be able to give.

    Thanks

    Austin

    Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:56 AM

All replies

  • To further complicate the situation my post seems to lost all paragraph formatting which was there when I submitted. I had put the paragraphs there to make it easier to read and digest the information contained in my question. I apologise for the poor formatting. This is outwith my control. I attempted to reedit the post to see if I could get the paragraphs back but it made no difference!
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 11:02 AM
  • Hi zen master

    I'm not sure I can provide explicit help on this problem, as the circumstances you describe are completely new to me... What I can say is that

    - You should have to be changing any DEP settings in order to install/uninstall any of this software (unless you have some kind of "management" or "anti-virus" software forcing this)
    - The time required for repair, installation etc. is much higher than it should be if you have a reasonably powerful machine (which would be expected for a dev machine)

    Assuming you don't have third-party software in the mix, I'd say the problem is in your Windows installation/configuration, not with either Visual Studio or Office.  But you might first try booting Windows in Safe Mode and see what kind of difference that makes.
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 2:39 PM
  • Hi Cindy,

    Thankyou very much for your response. In between making my last post I managed to run the Office repair and reboot my machine, which for the time being has fixed VSTO and at last I am able to get some real work done!

    I am still worried that the core problem remains and I will be fighting this problem again before long. The VSTO troubleshooter still tells me Excel is not installed. But I run Excel every day and use it all day long! I am not sure I can trust the VSTO troubleshooter as it is clearly giving the wrong information about my system.

    I agree fully about DEP, I should not have to mess with DEP settings. I wasted a lot of time just to get to the bottom of that problem, there does not seem to be much good quality information easily available on the web about the issue. Anyway, although irritating and wasteful of time, this is a side issue relative to my core problem of getting VSTO to run without problems in Visual Studio.


    The machine I am running is reasonably powerful. it's a Toshiba M700 2.6Ghz with 4GB RAM. 10,000 rpm HDD. The installation times I have quoted are resonably accurate. In fact they have always been around that on any machine I have used, some of them even higher specs than this one. For a complete uninstall of Office 2007 I estimate 30 mins to uninstall Office, 10 minutes to reboot, about 1 hr to reinstall Office and 10 minutes to reboot. Total time 1 hour 50 mins. For a repair of Office it takes about 30mins for the repair and 10 minutes for a reboot. So 40 minutes in total for the repair. Granted, I am able to get on with other work whilst the install/uninstall scripts run, but it's still a fair amount of time and attention required and a major disruption to my thought processes. I want to be able to get on with real work, not worry about installing and configuring the system!!

    I run my machine with Kaspersky AntiVirus disabled at startup via msconfig. I only run a full virus scan once a week since the performance of the computer is compromised too much by having it run all the time. I do not think this problem has anything to do with AntiVirus.


    I think you may be right in that my problems are related to Windows. My suspicion is that there are problems in the Windows registry to do with Visual Studio, MS Office and VSTO. But if this is indeed the case how can I fix them? A full rebuild of my machine is way too time consuming. I have already completely unistalled MS Office, and carried out a repair of Visual Studio but the problem remains. Is there a clean up script somewhere at MS that can wipe all traces of Visual Studio, Office and VSTO from my machine and all their registry settings. Maybe this way I can be sure that they are all cleanly uninstalled then reinstalled and properly registered.

    Thanks again for your answer.

    Austin

    Thursday, August 13, 2009 3:24 PM
  • Hi Austin

    (Interesting, that your message is still not formatting correctly. I don't see that with any other messages on the forum. Are you posting via the web interface?)

    <<The VSTO troubleshooter still tells me Excel is not installed. But I run Excel every day and use it all day long!>>

    Mmm. The one bell this statement rings is:

    Have you ever had any other version of Office installed on this machine? And is it still installed?
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 3:57 PM
  • Yes I am posting via the web interface, I am using Firefox 3.5 to make my posts. I just tried to use IE 8 to see if that makes a difference, however I could not even sign in to MSDN using IE8! I give up on this stuff! Nothing works! When I get time I'll see if using a different browser makes it possible to retain the formatting.


    I may have had a trial version of Office 2007 installed on the Machine ages ago. This is why I am wondering if there is an uninstall script available to completely remove traces of Office from my system. Ages ago I found a similar script for removing all traces of Visual Studio trial version which was causing problems with the installation of the real paid for version of Visual Studio Team Suite. I wish it was easy to install these products, after all they cost a fortune and are supposed to increase your productivity!


    Thanks again for your interest in helping me.

    Thursday, August 13, 2009 5:30 PM
  • Hi Auston

    <<I am using Firefox 3.5 to make my posts>>

    Interesting. I'll alert the forum folks to this message thread.

    <<I may have had a trial version of Office 2007 installed on the Machine ages ago. This is why I am wondering if there is an uninstall script available to completely remove traces of Office from my system. >>

    No, unfortunately there's nothing like that for Office, as far as I know. Although you could check with the office specialists in the Office Setup newsgroup. (You'll find a link to Office newsgroups, generally, in the forum's Please Read First message. You should be able to drill down to the Setup newsgroup through the pane on the left.) In any case, they would probably be the best ones to help you track down why you're having difficulties with installing Office.

    FWIW when I test software I usually install it on a virtual machine (I use VMWare, but there's also Virtual PC) :-)
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Thursday, August 13, 2009 5:52 PM
  • zen master, can you take a look and let me know if you have javascript support enabled? The symptoms of not getting an editor and html formatting may be because the browser is not enabling scripting.
    Community Forums Program Manager
    Friday, August 14, 2009 5:28 AM
  • Cindy,

    VSTO is still working in Visual Studio after a reboot, but the VSTO troubleshooter still reports that I do not have Exel, Word etc installed.

     

    I think your advice about the virtual machines is wise, but then I have most of my tools and software configured on my base system, it would take a long time to get up and running with a virtual PC, installing OS, downloading and installing drivers, updates etc. That's why I always just install onto my base system. Another reason for not going the VM route is that at system startup Vista takes up about 2GB of RAM, since my machine for the last few years has been 32bit I only have a max of approx 3.3Gb available of the 4Gb on the machine. Thus with a few applications up and running the RAM limitations quickly start to make it unfeasible to Run a VM on top of this. I have recently purchased a Toshiba M750 with SSD and 8Gb RAM (its on its way to me as we speak), when I get this I intend to install Windows 7 and clean copies of all my production software. Hopefully this will solve most of the issues I am currently experiencing with respect to Visual Studio, VSTO and Office. With the extra RAM available on the new machine it may make testing trial software in a VM a viable option, so I will try to keep your advice in mind as I build the new system! Thanks.

    I looked for some Office 2007 Uninstall cleanup scripts but the initial search turns up some very suspicious links and downloads to files which I would rather not run on my system. Surely running the genuine Offical unistall Office 2007 program from MS should solve these issues? Evidently not, since I have run a full reinstall of Office 2007 and still have the problems!


    I think that it would be nice if MS made it easier for genuine end users so that we do not end wasting time due to poor quality installation/uninstallation scripts of trial versions of the software and trying to clean up the mess they leave behind (If indeed this is one of the root causes of my issues). I do not think it is unreasonable to assume that if you completely remove Office 2007 using the official uninstall program that it should completely remove all traces of Office 2007 from my system. Then on reinstallation perhaps tools like the VSTO troubleshooter may be able to correctly detect that I have the relevant Office 2007 components installed and give me the confidence that my system is configured properly and not hanging by a thread ready to collapse into installation/unistallation/reconfiguration nightmares once more! I hope my feedback can make it to the Office and VSTO teams at MS.

    Friday, August 14, 2009 9:47 AM
  • I have got Javascript enabled on Firefox 3.5. I am still unable to log in to MSDN with IE8 even after a reboot! So I can't test if I am able to correctly apply formatting to my questions using IE8. Sorry for the off topic nonsense!

    Everything looks great, now :-) I'm seeing paragraphs and links and all!
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Friday, August 14, 2009 10:06 AM
  • VSTO is still working in Visual Studio after a reboot, but the VSTO troubleshooter still reports that I do not have Exel, Word etc installed. I looked for some Office Uninstall cleanup scripts but the initial search turns up some very suspicious links and downloads to files which I would rather not run on my system. Surely running the genuine Offical unistall Office 2007 program from MS should solve these issues? Evidently not, since I have run a full reinstall of Office 2007 and still have the problems!

    As I said, for this you really need to talk to the specialists in the Office.setup newsgroup...
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Friday, August 14, 2009 10:07 AM
  • zen master, can you take a look and let me know if you have javascript support enabled? The symptoms of not getting an editor and html formatting may be because the browser is not enabling scripting.
    Community Forums Program Manager

    Brent,

    I have got Javascript enabled on Firefox 3.5. I have worked out that the issue with not being able to log into MSDN via IE8 was due to the zoom level being set to 130%. When I set the zoom level to 100% the buttons I was clicking in started to work and I can now edit my posts with formatting using IE8. I have a 28" monitor so at 100% it makes it very difficult to read! It should really be able to work properly at any zoom level. Although Firefox 3.5  does not have the zoom level problems it does not show the Rich text Editor when I reply to or make posts. I imagine the forum team has not had time to ensure compatibility with Firefox 3.5. I noticed that in the supported browsers section only Firefox is listed as being supported and not specific versions.

    I hope this feedback helps you improve the quality of the forums for the users!
    Friday, August 14, 2009 10:33 AM
  • VSTO is still working in Visual Studio after a reboot, but the VSTO troubleshooter still reports that I do not have Exel, Word etc installed. I looked for some Office Uninstall cleanup scripts but the initial search turns up some very suspicious links and downloads to files which I would rather not run on my system. Surely running the genuine Offical unistall Office 2007 program from MS should solve these issues? Evidently not, since I have run a full reinstall of Office 2007 and still have the problems!

    As I said, for this you really need to talk to the specialists in the Office.setup newsgroup...
    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP

    Thanks, I have asked a question on the newsgroup, hopefully someone will come up with a suggestion.
    Friday, August 14, 2009 10:55 AM
  • Lo and behold after just a few hours of real work the VSTO has once again stopped working in Visual Studio. The tools are once more unavailable and I get the same message as made in my original post. Here goes to repair office AGAIN!! This is a ridiculous waste of time!
    Friday, August 14, 2009 12:18 PM
  • Lo and behold after just a few hours of real work the VSTO has once again stopped working in Visual Studio. The tools are once more unavailable and I get the same message as made in my original post. Here goes to repair office AGAIN!! This is a ridiculous waste of time!

    Austin

    I think the first thing you need to do is track down the issues with Office setup. If you can get that straightened out, the problem with VSTO migiht go away, or you may find something out about your Windows configuration that will help when you next repair Visual Studio.

    As I mentioned before, an important trouble-shooting step would be to see what happens when Windows is in Safe Mode. Another thing you could try is creating and logging in as a different user. If your Registry is hosed, for example, this could clear things up in the new user account. But we here are not installation/setup/configuration specialists, so...

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP
    Friday, August 14, 2009 12:40 PM
  • Cindy,

    Thanks once again for the advice. I am investigating the Office setup issues and I have posted a question to the newsgroup you suggested.


    To ensure that I am not exaggerating about the repair and reboot times. this time whilst doing the repair I recorded the amount of time it took to complete each process. the times are recorded as below.

    13.20 Started Repair of MS Office

    13.27 Setup Bootstrapper Failed

    13.28 Readded setup bootstrapper to DEP settings under advanced settings of system properties performance DEP tab. The program was already listed there already so I do not see why I had to add it once again. Because of the problem with VSTO I am having to keep this in the list due to the frequent need to repair my office installation which temporarily makes VSTO work in Visual Studio. According to the link I left in my original list this represents a security threat and should not be done!!  Fantastic.

    13.30 Restarted Repair of Office

    14.00  Microsoft office ultimate 2007 configuration has completed successfully.

    14.00 In order to complete setup, a system reboot is necessary.

    14.15 Reboot Complete and VSTO working again after repairing Office 2007!

    Thus the entire repair of Microsoft office 2007 and reboot took 55 minutes. In my opinion the time taken for repair and the fact that VSTO keeps breaking is an entirely unsatisfactory state of affairs and completely unworkable. 


    Why won't VSTO work on my machine?

    What do I need to do to fix it?

    Again any further ideas or opinions in relation to this matter are most welcome.

    Thanks

    Austin

    Friday, August 14, 2009 3:06 PM