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Windows 7: All MS Office icons now 'There was a problem sending the command'


23 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
All MS Office icons now 'There was a problem sending the command'

Hi,
Windows 7 newbie (Oct 11) but Win3, 95, 98, NT, XP experienced..
ASUS UX32A laptop, Windows 7 Home Premium x64, 4GB Ram, 100GB Sytem drive, Core i5 processor/s

I'm struggling to find the reason/fix for the well documented problem of Office shortcuts suddenly starting to report the error 'There was a problem sending the command to the program' and opening the application without the associated file. Both application and file seem fine as they can be made to work together by opening the application and using its Open File command to open the file.

I am using Office 2007, Visio 2007 and Project 2007 and all behave the same way. The behaviour started about a fortnight ago and there was no significant event that I can think of - no new programs, updates or websites visited..

So far, by trawling the internet, I have found the following fixes (that appear to have worked for some people) and eliminated them. I am at the point of re-installing Windows 7 but am trying to avoid that because I am new to the installation process.

I have eliminated:
Scan for virus/malware
Renaming Office templates and recreating them e.g. Word's Normal.dotm
Toggling 'Run as administrator' and leaving off (both on the application and its shortcut)
Varying the compatibility between XPSP3, Windows 7 and off (both on the application and its shortcut)
Toggling the 'Ignore DDE' flag in Excel (I can't find anything similar in Word)
Changing the default printer
Checking the association is correctly set to the application
Creating a new user and testing under that user
Re registering the applications using startup switch /r (under elevated command prompt)
Running 'sfc /scannow' to verify Windows 7
Registering ole32.dll
Reverting program updates
Reinstalling office
Reinstalling Microsoft Net
Clearing any 'command' entries from the registry 'shell' entries

That's 14 so far. The only one which gave me any clue was the last one. There were some odd looking values in the registry and by deleting every key which began with the first few characters of this key, Excel started to open the file even though it reported the error. Given that the above actions appeared to work to for some people, I'm leaning towards it being virus/malware activity.

Question 1 - Is there anything else I can try
Question 2 - If I remove Office again, is there a tool which will strip out every registry entry relating to it, so that I can try a clean install?

I apologise for starting a new thread on an old topic. I ask for mitigation because I think that I've read pretty well every thread raised on the subject and haven't found a consistent problem definition/solution and I'm stuck.

Thanks
John

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

23 Feb 2013   #2

Windows 8.1 ; Windows 7 x86 (Dec2008-Jan2013)
 
 

Total Uninstall can analyze installed program, then it will start standard uninstaller for that particular program. After that Total Uninstaller will compare its log and delete files and registry settings which were left behind by standard uninstaller.

Trial version would do the trick too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Feb 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
No good...

Many thanks for your prompt reply and suggestion. Total Uninstall works a treat, I used the trial and will probably purchase it because it's a very handy tool to have. Unfortunately, I removed Office, used TU to clean up, searched the registry and removed all of the vUpAVxxxx keys then compacted and repaired the registry using TuneUp Utilities, re-installed Office and ..... exactly the same.

So, if it's nothing to do with Office, it has to be Windows 7. Off on a voyage of dicovery with UEFI installations next.

Thanks
John

PS 15. I forgot that someone suggested stopping and starting the Printer Spooler service. Can't see how that would affect it but it worked for someone....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


23 Feb 2013   #4

Windows 8.1 ; Windows 7 x86 (Dec2008-Jan2013)
 
 

Well, I would love to see reg values for office files.

Could you download File Types manager from here. Open it, then navigate to .docx extension.
When you click on .docx in the second part of the window it will show options for that file.
Could you highlight all these sub-options of docx by selecting them and holding CTRL button.
Then right click - HTML report - selected items.

HTML report has to be done on sub-options of docx files, NOT on all files in the first part of the window.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
FileTypesMan report

Hi,
Took a little while. I have re-installed Office again, using TotalUninstall to clean out the debris. I am just applying the updates but the behaviour is still the same.

As you requested - the HTML export for .docx. Looks ok to me but it's still doing it.

I wonder why WORDPAD seems to be intercepting it? It's not in the 'user' dialogue for opening files. Could this be the problem? If I remove that key it would resolve ambiguity in the Word automation.

I'll have a look at .xlsx and .pptx as well.

Interesting report tool.

John


EDIT : *** Well that didn't come out like it looked ! *** I'll try again


File Types List



Created by using FileTypesMan

Name Caption Default Disabled Last Modified Command-Line DDE Message DDE Application DDE Ifexec Select executable file Process Filename In SystemFileAssociations Registry Key Extended Product Name Product Version Product Description Company Name Edit &Edit No No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /n /dde [REM _DDE_Direct][FileOpen("%1")] WinWord System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\Edit\Command No 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation New &New No No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /n /f /dde [REM _DDE_Direct][FileNew("%1")] WinWord System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\New\Command No 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation OnenotePrintto &Print No No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /n /dde [REM _DDE_Minimize][FileOpen("%1")][FilePrintSetup "%2 on p",.DoNotSetAsSysDefault=1][FilePrint 0][DocClose][FilePrintSetup ""] WinWord [FileOpen("%1")][FilePrintSetup "%2 on p",.DoNotSetAsSysDefault=1][FilePrint 0][FileExit 2] System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\OnenotePrintto\Command Yes 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation Open &Open Yes No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /n /dde [REM _DDE_Direct][FileOpen("%1")] WinWord System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\Open\Command No 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation open open No No 14/07/2009 04:53:38 "%ProgramFiles%\Windows NT\Accessories\WORDPAD.EXE" "%1" C:\Program Files\Windows NT\Accessories\WORDPAD.EXE Yes HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\.docx\Shell\open\Command No Microsoft® Windows® Operating System 6.1.7600.16385 (win7_rtm.090713-1255) Windows Wordpad Application Microsoft Corporation OpenAsReadOnly Open as Read-Only No No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /h /n /dde [AppShow][REM _DDE_ReadWriteOnSave][FileOpen .Name="%1",.Revert=0] WinWord System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\OpenAsReadOnly\Command Yes 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation Print &Print No No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /x /n /dde [REM _DDE_Minimize][FileOpen("%1")][t=IsDocumentDirty()][FilePrint 0][SetDocumentDirty t][DocClose] WinWord [FileOpen("%1")][FilePrint 0][FileExit 2] System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\Print\Command No 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation Printto Printto No No 24/02/2013 07:31:25 "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /n /dde [REM _DDE_Minimize][FileOpen("%1")][FilePrintSetup "%2 on p",.DoNotSetAsSysDefault=1][FilePrint 0][DocClose 2][FilePrintSetup ""] WinWord [FileOpen("%1")][FilePrintSetup "%2 on p",.DoNotSetAsSysDefault=1][FilePrint 0][FileExit 2] System C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12\WINWORD.EXE No HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Word.Document.12\Shell\Printto\Command No 2007 Microsoft Office system 12.0.4518.1014 Microsoft Office Word Microsoft Corporation
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Feb 2013   #6

Windows 8.1 ; Windows 7 x86 (Dec2008-Jan2013)
 
 

I am sorry, it is hard to read what you have posted.
Could you please save original html report, then zip it and attached it to the post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Feb 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Struggling

Thanks for your help. I didn't expect you to read the post as its been displayed - it left here in a tabular format! For some reason, I'm struggling to export the HTML to a file that I can attach. It's finger trouble and I'll crack it soon....

I'm tied up with work for a couple of days but before leaving home last night, I took the opportunity of running TU against my daughter's machine, which has roughly the same config (Windows 7 x64 / Office 2007) and compared the dde information on screen. The keys / contents matched exactly but my machine shows the error and hers doesn't. Her machine has now gone back to University so I can't explore that further but to my mind, that suggests that it's Windows 7 not sending the file name to %1 correctly, not Office failing to pick it up.

I'll have another go at getting the HTML into the board tonight. Thanks for your patience and help. If nothing else, it's really helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off.

J
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Mar 2013   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
All appears to be fixed now

Thanks for all the pointers. No specific conclusion found.

I matched the Office registry entries to my works XP machine and the dde key entries were identical. I found yet another post which suggested that a couple of Microsoft updates (fix #16 ?)may have been the cause - certainly the dates seemed to match up - so one by one, I uninstalled them. After hours and hours, I bit the bullet and just re-installed Windows. I will take a new disk image, so if whatever it was happens again, at least I can go back to this working state.

It's a pity Bill Gates' organisation can't capitalise on the expertise that each user has to develop in order to make his operating system work reliably. I have a detailed service manual and diagnostic tool for my car but don't expect to have to use them each time I start the thing....

Best wishes
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Mar 2013   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Now here's the twist ....

Vanilla Windows 7 load and Office straight on top - updates turned off. Worked correctly.

Updates loaded - It stopped.

Disable IE9 - It works.

Re-enable IE9 - It works.

There's something seriously screwy here about how the DDE underlying system works. It's clear that none of the 16 other 'repairs' would have helped specifically - I suspect that something is happening according to the specific order in which updates are applied - tricks such as the '16' are randomly reversing some of the changes (I particularly discredited the 'stop the print spooler' but based on this, perhaps there is some mileage in it.)

What's worrying is that there is no definitive cause and repair. I expect it to break again at any time, so have a system image in my right hand, just in case.

Back to loading up my games again...

Thanks for your help

J
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2013   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
And Finally - DDE, Win7 and Office

I now have a theory which fits the observable facts....

As re-installing Windows 7, Office and various updates didn't consistently fix it but some really odd and unrelated activities did, I now believe that this problem is NOT a settings or config issue.
For a period, I could reliably turn the fault on and off using TuneUp utilities 'disable a program' functionality. This points to a timing issue, rather than a settings issue - the dde command is missed because Office (or other program) isn't ready for it. This means that the problem and resolution is as individual as your preferred progam list, and the order that you installed them.

For me, Office is one of the first programs loaded and that seems to have put the beast at bay - however, the first run of the day still can produce that 'There was a problem sending the command to the program' message', but mercifully it goes to sleep after that.

I've wasted hours and hours and hours on this issue..... Time to get a new hobby...

John
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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