Office trouble: Excel calculation issues, and Outlook starts in safe mode (January 2023)

[German]In this post I would like to put online a small collection of problems or inconsistencies around Microsoft Office. The problems have come to my attention through the readership in the last few days. Possibly they are isolated cases, but there could be others affected.


Outlook asks for safe mode during launch

German blog reader W. contacted me by email at the end of last week to share an unpleasant observation. They were using Office 365 in a corporate environment, but are now facing the problem that Outlook asks sto start in safe mode. Stefan wrote in response:

Dear Mr. Born,

I am a diligent reader of your blog. Thank you for the many helpful contributions!

We have the problem in our company since ~ 1 week that Outlook brings after a restart of some clients (not all) the message that Outlook was not terminated correctly and asks whether it should be started in safe mode.

This is denied. After that Outlook can also be terminated and started as often as desired during the day. No message appears there.

The next time I restart, the message comes again the first time I open it.

I have already done the following:

  1. Online repair
  2. Complete uninstallation and reinstallation
  3. Creation of a new Outlook profile (all Outlook data of the old profile under AppData Local / Roaming were deleted)
    Disk cleanup of the WIN11 22H2 (User and System)

Some of the affected clients had Office installed in 32 bit. I have installed these in 64 bit in this course. Error remains however.

Martin asks if I have any ideas or hints about this issue. I have not encountered such a case yet. Therefore I put it here in the blog. Maybe there are other affected readers.

Excel calc issues

Around Excel, I noticed this German comment by Dieter Baumgartner, who mentions that Excel 2021 occasionally fails to calculate through its worksheets and tables formula – and then simply outputs Value 0. The comments to my blog post also mention some issues with Access.

I found much more interesting some advice about an Excel problem brought to my attention by Ulrich on Mastodon. I've pulled the conversation out and translated it:

After the last Windows update an Excel application 64 bit does not run anymore. It is uncompiled and variables are not found

Excel® 2019 MSO (Version 2212 Build 16.0.15928.20196) 64 Bit
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 10.0.19044 Build 19044

The Excel VBA code does not find self-defined properties. In between times a file worked, no idea why.

Workbook and VBA code is password protected – what the reader did to solve the issue:

Unprotect the
– Workbook
– Sheet protection
– VBA Editor
– Module in the header, insert in Dim test as String (so that a change takes place)
– Save file
– Close file
– Open file
= >runs

It is noticeable that the file cannot be compiled. Only when something is changed, the compilation runs through. See above. One should think that protection of workbooks by passwords has nothing to do with Windows.

Ulrich can't say with 100% certainty that the update is to blame. He could not roll back the updates because Windows did not allow that. Ulricht now has send me a link to the Microsoft Answers forum thread VBA compile error: variable not defined in Excel after Office updates to v2212. What's going on? where the issue has been described also.


Regarding the above error, he says: If you can stay in a defined ecosystem with Microsoft Excel+VBA, everything is fine. Don't cross that line, it's (for developers) a ride through the wilderness.

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