By Brian McMurtry

Senior Network and Systems Engineer

On-Site Computer Solutions

Recently, one of my clients brought it to my attention that suddenly, Excel 2003 took several minutes to open spreadsheets stored on a network share. After a bit of fruitless searching, I finally ran across an article that noted that this was a new issue with no easy fix other than some changes to the registry.

It all started when Microsoft released a patch (KB2501584) that integrated Office File Validation (OFV) for older versions of office- basically it is an add-on to Office that enhances security before opening files. The unfortunate effect was that after installation, Excel would take 7-8 minutes to open a file that opened instantly just the day before.

In the last few days, Microsoft acknowledged that this was an issue, so they released a bulletin ( ) with a “Fix It For Me” link that will disable OFV. After running the Fix it, Voila! Excel returns to the normal behavior for networked spreadsheets.

Microsoft does provide two other “workarounds” other than disabling the patch- first, you could save the file locally and work on it on your own PC. Second, they encourage you to upgrade to a newer version of Office, which is not affected by this bug. However, in my opinion, as long as your antivirus is up to date, I see little harm in disabling OFV.