Protected Workbook closes shortly after opening

I create several EXE files from Excel workbooks for our business. The latest version of our tool has just been published and I am receiving reports from several users that the program opens up and works for a few seconds before closing down (crashing?) without trace.

I cannot replicate this issue myself apart from the first time I opened the EXE file, where I then restarted my PC and tried again and now it works fine.

I am asking for Office versions off people to see if that is an issue. I am on Office 365 (version 16) and am using 2019.1 build of XLS Padlock. I cannot recall if I used 2019.0 build for the previous versions or not.

I can send on compiled copies and activation keys etc as well the user report emails if needed for you.

Some customers reported a possible crash issue if the option “Do not allow access to VBE” was enabled in XLS Padlock 2019.1. This issue will be fixed in the incoming XLS Padlock 2020.
It also appears that XLS Padlock 2019.0 somehow does not have this bug.
Note that not all computers experiment this problem. It seems to be random.

I have also had this issue. I don’t recall what the solution was exactly but it would happen mostly if users did not have their Office updates installed.

The splash screen would show briefly then Excel would close. Once they updated their Office (usually because they buy older Office 2010-2016 on eBay and still need updates) then all would be fine (this happens also with DoneEx product).

I also have issues with Office 365 forcing the Excel ‘app’ as the default Excel program (rendering all vba functions useless and giving clients the VBA error instead).

This has been a nightmare for me. The clients see their Excel as a locally installed (desktop) Excel version (2016-2019) that they paid for. In reality once I logmein to their PC I find that even though they do have the downloaded (Desktop) version of Excel installed, that Excel 365 (click to run) is actually opening it.

(To test: just click any normal .xls file and see what opens it, as this is the default Excel that XLS Padlock uses).

Also, once 365 is installed, even if you uninstall it, it still forces the (free) app as the default Excel! I have to make the clients use the Office 365 removal tool and completely remove 365 and then have them buy Office 2016 Pro or re-install (or repair) their older Excel just to fix it!

Since you cannot open the compiled file with Excel itself (like you can with any normal .xls file), it would be nice if XLS Padlock had a way to select which version of Excel to open it with (from a list of installed Excel versions on the PC)! Otherwise, whatever MS decides to force as the default Excel (now and in the future) can render your VBA useless, and it gives us developers a black eye as our users think we have bad vba code! (until we prove otherwise by removing all traces of Office 365, than all works fine!).

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Thank you for the reply, however I do not have the option enabled. TheUser’s response above seems to make sense, as some people have Office 2010 and others have Office 2016/2019 as part of Office 365.

It appears that since the recent releases of Office (2016/2019), XLS Padlock seems to be playing catch-up a lot more than actually being stable… I’m guessing that’s down to the core changes within the Office suite itself and how it behaves in terms of backwards compatibility?

I know that we had no problems at all with the software when we were using Office 2007/2010 but since we were upgraded at work, we’ve had essentially a year of instability with XLS Padlock.

Sure please send us your EXE files for testing. You can use for instance to upload files and send us a link for download.
And for silent crash, you can use the WindowsEvent Viewer as explained here:
Generally, apart the bug mentioned above, apps can crash due to some antivirus software which inject hooks into running apps.

There are two possible causes.

  1. Most likely their anti virus/malware is false detecting the exe as a ransom ware. This is easy to check by going to the antivirus and checking actions/quarantine. To solve this you need to add an exception to the folder containing the exe. It may take 24 hours for this exception to be pushed through if it is in networked environment.

  2. The other option is if it is excel 365 and the excel is not activated. To solve your client needs to open excel as standalone and check if the licence is activated. It took me ages to find this issue.The symptoms is that the exe opens to the splash screen then just shuts down, same as above.

Good luck


maybe the problem has existed since the last update.
Excel upadte 01/14/2020

where can i find this setting “Do not allow access to VBE”

In XLS Padlock Security page (VBA options).