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2.38. "Could not attach to the already running copy of Microsoft Excel"

Applies to: All Palisade add-ins for Excel

I try to launch @RISK (StatTools, PrecisionTree, ...) but I get this message:

Could not attach to the already running copy of Microsoft Excel because it is invisible or unresponsive.

@RISK was able to launch Excel (or Excel was already running), but Excel is not answering messages from @RISK. Here are the two causes and cures.

Most likely, there is an instance of Excel running in the background that needs to be stopped. To do this:

  1. Bring up Task Manager by selecting Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
  2. Select the Processes tab. (In Windows 8, it's the Details tab. If you don't see the tabs, click More details at lower left.)
  3. Click the column heading Image Name to sort the processes.
  4. Find Excel.exe in the list of processes. Highlight it and click End Process. When asked if you are sure you want to end the task, select Yes.
  5. Close Task Manager by clicking the X at the top right.

You should now be able to launch @RISK (StatTools, PrecisionTree, ...).

If this is an ongoing problem, you should investigate what is spawning these background processes of Excel. For example, some releases of certain third-party Excel add-ins create background processes of Excel and do not terminate them properly.

If there was no background process of Excel, then @RISK was able to start Excel but Excel wouldn't answer messages from @RISK. This can happen when another Excel add-in or startup file takes too long to start, so that @RISK eventually gives up waiting for a response from Excel. You can fix this in any of three ways:

  • Solution 1: Disable the other startups, them add them back one at a time to determine which one is the problem. See Find and Fix Startup Conflicts (Excel 2007–2013).

  • Solution 2: Make @RISK an active add-in. This will cause Excel to load @RISK when Excel is ready, instead of having @RISK load Excel and wait for a response from Excel. See Opening Palisade Software Automatically Whenever Excel Opens.

  • Solution 3: Start Excel yourself. When Excel is open and you see "Ready" in the status bar, then launch @RISK (StatTools, PrecisionTree, ...) from the desktop icon, taskbar icon, or Start menu. This has the disadvantage that you have to do it every time, but it doesn't require you to reconfigure Excel as Solutions 1 and 2 do.  (TIP: in most versions of Windows, you can right-click the Excel icon in the Start menu and select Pin to Taskbar, so that the @RISK icon is always visible.)

Last edited: 2015-08-15

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