How to Fix Excel Files Not Opening from File Explorer

Are your Excel files not opening from File Explorer?

Microsoft Excel is the leading spreadsheet tool in the world, with millions of daily active users. Being around since 1985, Microsoft Excel has been the go-to tool by professionals and students when crunching numbers and processing data. 

Despite its status, this doesn’t mean that Microsoft Excel is safe from problems and unexpected errors. 

Recently, there have been complaints from users who encounter issues when accessing their Excel files from File Explorer. Based on the reports, Microsoft Excel is not launching after clicking Excel files from File Explorer. 

Most of the time, this issue is caused by improper system configurations. Microsoft Excel might not be the default app selected to launch Excel files on your computer. 

On the other hand, it is also possible that Excel is not installed correctly on your computer. 

To help you out, we’ve decided to make a guide for fixing Excel files that are not opening from File Explorer. 

Let’s dive right in!

1. Restart Your Computer. 

Before changing your system configurations, we recommend restarting your system first if you can’t open any Excel files. This should reload your resources and flush temporary caches in your system. 

Here’s how you can reboot your computer: 

  1. First, save your progress and ensure that Microsoft Excel is closed. 
  2. After that, access the Start Menu and click on the Power Options tab. 
  3. Lastly, choose Restart and wait for your computer to reboot. 
Restart your PC

Go back to File Explorer afterward and try accessing your files. 

2. Ensure that Microsoft Excel Is Selected. 

One of the main reasons why Excel files are not opening from File Explorer is if the wrong application is selected to launch Excel files. To fix this, use the ‘Open With’ option in File Explorer to select Microsoft Excel as the default app. 

See the steps below to change your default app settings: 

  1. First, launch File Explorer on your computer and navigate to your Excel file. 
  2. After that, right-click on your file and choose Open With
  3. Lastly, choose Microsoft Excel from the pop-up menu and check the ‘Always Use this App to Open .xlsx files’. Click OK to apply the changes. 
Excel Default App

Now, try accessing your Excel files from File Explorer to check if the problem is solved. 

3. Reset Your Default App Settings. 

Windows normally choose the best applications to run your files. However, it might choose the wrong program for your file, which can cause issues. If you can’t open your Excel files from File Explorer, try resetting your default app settings. 

Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. On your computer, press the Windows key to open the Start Menu
  2. Now, look for ‘Control Panel’ and launch it. 
  3. After that, navigate to Programs > Default Programs > Set Your Default Programs.
  4. Finally, scroll down to the Default Apps tab and choose Reset
Excel files not opening from File Explorer

Restart your computer afterward and try opening your Excel files. 

4. Update Microsoft Excel. 

The version of Microsoft Excel you’re using might not be compatible with the Excel file you are trying to access. If this is the case, updating your software to the latest version should be able to address the issue. 

Follow the steps below to update Microsoft Excel: 

  1. First, open Microsoft Excel and access the File tab. 
  2. Now, go to Accounts
  3. Lastly, click on Update Options and choose Update Now or Enable Updates
Excel files not opening from File Explorer

Try launching your Excel files again to check if the problem is solved. 

5. Turn Off Hardware Acceleration. 

While hardware acceleration isn’t always the cause of this issue, there are cases where users were able to solve the problem after disabling the feature. 

If Excel files are still not opening from File Explorer, follow the steps below to disable hardware acceleration: 

  1. On Microsoft Excel, go to File > Options
  2. Next, access the Advanced tab. 
  3. Finally, look for the Display tab and click on the Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration option. 
Excel files not opening from File Explorer

Go back to File Explorer and try accessing your files from there. 

6. Update Windows. 

If you still can’t access your Excel files, try updating your operating system to patch possible bugs and glitches. 

See the guide below to update Windows: 

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows + I keys to open Windows Settings
  2. Now, click on Update & Security and access the Windows Update tab. 
  3. Finally, click on Check for Updates or Download and Install
Excel files not opening from File Explorer

Restart your system to apply the changes, and try accessing your Excel files. 

7. Reinstall Microsoft Excel. 

At this point, the last thing you can do is reinstall Microsoft Excel on your computer. This way, we can ensure that there are no broken or missing files on your system. 

Follow the steps below to remove Microsoft Excel: 

  1. On your computer, go to the Control Panel and click on Uninstall a Program
  2. Look for Microsoft Excel afterward and right-click on it. 
  3. Finally, choose Uninstall and follow the prompts. 

Reinstall Microsoft Excel afterward and check if the problem is solved. 

That ends our guide on how to fix Excel files that are not opening from File Explorer. If you have questions, please leave a comment below, and we’ll be glad to help. 

If this guide helped you, please share it. 🙂


  • John Sixto

    John is a staff writer at Saint and comes from a SAP ABAP development background. He has a Bachelors in IT and has been writing since 2018, with over 500 posts published. He loves to build PCs and has a deep curiosity in understanding how different components and configurations work. John spends hundreds of hours at a time, researching and testing the software and apps, before he proceeds to write about it. LinkedIn X (Twitter) Website

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