Error opening Excel file: "Could not decrypt file"

When trying to open an Excel file programmatically, I get the above error. But this only happens on one specific file. It opens correctly when using Excel. The file is definitely not encrypted. On another file, I get this error:

'filename.xls' cannot be accessed. The file may be corrupted, located on a server that is not responding or read-only.

After I cancel the operation, the debugger displays:

The Microsoft Office Access database engine cannot open or write to the file ''. It is already opened exclusively by another user, or you need permission to view and write its data. The file is not read-only and

The file is definitely not open. The server responds with other files, and both of these errors are specific to the file.

These are files I have downloaded both programmatically and by hand. The errors remain. I notice that when I view the properties for this last file, it displays only the 'General' tab.

Any suggestions on how I can fix these files?



8/28/2008 3:16:15 PM 93655 articles. 5 followers. Follow

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Try to save the file with a new name and run your code on the newly created file, seems that the file you have is locked by another application or process.


8/28/2008 4:15:14 PM

That sounds reasonable. The files are public infomation and if I downloaded it while someone else had it open reading it, it could indeed have these properties set. After downloading it several times, I got a copy that worked. Normally, I will be downloading the files when no one is on-line - late at night, weekends and so on.

However, this does not explain how one file can be marked as Encrypted. None of these should be. Real bummer.

Thanks for the help


8/28/2008 6:12:07 PM

I'm not sure if this issue is related, but I had an issue with .docx and the file being corrupted coming out  of a database.  Take a look at this post to see if this is your problem and how I was able to get around it.

Also, make sure that any code that you may have that uses streams or files that closes the stream or the file.  This can cause a lock on the file...

Ivan R. Perez
Senior Software Developer
ITA Partners
Philadelphia, PA
8/28/2008 6:19:36 PM

I tried making a copy of the file and unblocking it. No go. So next, I copied only the data and pasted it into a new workbook. After configuring the worksheets correctly, the file loaded as it should. So it is the file itself, not the data. I will have to wait until a new update is posted to find out if the problem persists.

I will look into the possibility that the file is actually corrupt in some way, Ivan. Out of over 50 files, this is the only one that acts this way - so far. (There are four groups of over 50 files each, all the same format, but different data.) I have not had a look at the binary of the file to see where it differs from the others. I will try looking at it with a hex editor to see if I can spot the problem, but I am not sure what can be done about it once I find the problem. Maybe just alert the folks who generate the file. But it probably won't help since it loads perfectly in Excel, and that is all they care about. 

The interesting part of this problem is that all the files are generated by the same source (supposedly). It may be that the best I can do is create an error list and have someone (probably me Sad repair it manually).

Ah well, onward and upward. I will let you good folks know how I progress. Thanks again for all your help. If you can come up with any more suggestions, I am open.

Kindest regards,



8/29/2008 5:12:09 AM

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