[Fixed] Excel Failed to Launch in Safe Mode (4 Easy Solutions)

When any unknown error causes the Excel file to not open, Excel safe mode can be a way to launch the file. This special mode can be run in multiple ways. However, in many situations, Excel might not be launched in safe mode. In the following tutorial, I will write about how to run Excel in safe mode and the solution when Excel failed to launch in safe mode.

excel failed to launch in safe mode

The above GIF shows how to run Excel in safe mode. The steps for doing so are written in detail in the following article.

What Is Safe Mode?

Excel has a special mode called Safe Mode, which is to open the file when Excel is having issues launching. It may occur if any new add-in or extension is added to Excel. Related to what can cause Excel not to launch, the safe mode may not allow some of the features or add-ins to function.

[Fixed] Excel Failed to Launch in Safe Mode: 4 Easy Solutions

In the following article, I am going to show 4 methods to launch Excel in safe mode. Here, my Excel version is Microsoft Excel 365. You can use any available Excel version.

1. Using Keyboard Shortcut

The easiest way to launch an Excel file in safe mode is by using the keyboard shortcut. Follow the steps below:


  • First, select the Excel file.
  • Then, Press CTRL+ENTER.
  • After pressing ENTER, do not release CTRL until a confirmation dialog box shows up.

Selecting the Excel file

  • Now, Click Yes.

confirmation dialog box to open excel file in safe mode

  • Therefore, you can see the top of the Excel file turned white. It means this file is now in safe mode.

Excel file opened in safe mode

2. Implementing Command-Line to Launch Excel in Safe Mode

A specific command line can launch the Excel file in safe mode. I will show this method in a few steps.


  • In the beginning, click on the Search bar in the Windows toolbar.
  • Then, type run.
  • After that, find the Run in the Best match section.
  • Another way is, you can simply press Windows+R and the Run prompt will open.

Searching Run prompt

  • In the Open text box, type excel /safe.
Note: The space, after the word “excel” is mandatory. After the space, type slash(/). Leaving out the space will result in an error.
  • Now, Click OK.

type excel /safe in Run window Open box

  • It will result in opening a new Excel file in safe mode.

A new excel file opened up in safe mode

3. Creating Shortcut to Always Launch Excel in Safe Mode

You can also use the Create Shortcut method to open Excel in safe mode.


  • Initially, I will create a shortcut for the Excel file.
  • To do so, select the Excel file and right-click on it.
  • Next, click on Create Shortcut.

creating shortcut of the excel file

  • Find the shortcut of the file to select and right-click on it.
  • After that, click on Properties.

setting the properties of the excel file

  • Immediately, a Shortcut Properties window will appear.
  • Now, make sure you are on the Shortcut tab.
  • Next, add “ /safe” at the end of the Target box text.

The space, before the slash(/), is mandatory. Leaving out the space will result in an error.

  • Finally, Click OK.

adding /safe at the target box

  • If you open the Excel file from this shortcut, it will always run in safe mode.

A new excel file opened up in safe mode

4. Running Excel as Administrator from Windows Start Menu

In this method, I will run the Excel app as an administrator, to automatically launch an Excel file in safe mode.


  • First, search Excel on the Windows Start Menu.
  • After that, right-click on the Excel app.
  • Then, click on Run as administrator.

Searching excel on windows start menu

  • A dialog box will appear asking if you want to select “Yes” or “No”. Click on the “Yes”. It will open your Excel file in safe mode.

A new excel file opened up in safe mode

How to Launch Excel When It Stops Responding

If you get a message from Excel that “Excel couldn’t start last time.” and suggest you open it in safe mode. If you do not want to launch Excel in safe mode, which will lead to disabling some features, you can solve this issue by following the below steps.


  • First, search the Registry Editor on the Windows Start Menu.
  • Click on the Registry Editor app.

searching for registry editor

  • The Registry Editor window will open up immediately.
  • Next, click on the down arrow on the left side of HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
  • In this menu, find SOFTWARE.
  • After that, click on the down arrow beside it.


  • At this moment, a SOFTWARE section will open up.
  • Then, find Microsoft and expand it by clicking on the down arrow beside it.

Finding and expanding microsoft

  • Similarly, find Office under Microsoft and expand it.
  • Then, find 16.0 under Office and expand it.
  • Next, expand Common under 16.0.
Note: Here, I have selected 16.0 as I am using the Microsoft Office 365 version. You can select the file according to your office version which is 11.0 for Office 2003, 12.0 for Office 2007, 14.0 for Office 2010, 15.0 for Office 2013, 16.0 for any of the office versions of 2016, 2019, or 365.

expanding Office, then 16.0, and then Common

  • Finally, find Open Find, and click on it.
  • After that, right-click on the right side space.
  • Now, hover on New, and select DWORD (32-bit) Value.

creating DWORD (32-bit) Value file

  • Name the file EnableShellDataCaching.

renaming the file as EnableShellDataCaching

  • Now, double-click on it to open the file.
  • Right after, a pop-up window of Edit DWORD (32-bit) Value will appear.
  • Next, change the Value data to 1.
  • Lastly, click OK.

changing the Value data to 1

  • Now, restart your computer. The problem will be fixed.

Read More: How to Turn Off Safe Mode in Excel


In this article, you learned how to open an Excel file in safe mode and solve the issue when Excel failed to launch in safe mode. You can suggest your thoughts about this article in the comment section below.

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Rabeya Islam
Rabeya Islam

Rabeya Islam, BSc, Computer Science and Engineering, East West University, Bangladesh, has been working with the SOFTEKO for more than one and half years. She has written some articles for ExcelDemy. Currently, she is working as the team leader, oversees the day-to-day work, and leads the SQA team Excel Extensions project. She has built the workflow and the structure of the extension testing for the team. Her work and learning interests vary from Microsoft Office Suites, VBA, and... Read Full Bio

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