I ran into an issue with Excel 2013 on a relatively new install. Excel would successfully launch under the Administrator account but not as any other user. It just hung at the Starting… splash screen, even after promoting the standard user to a local Administrator. Only launching Excel with the command, excel.exe /safe would allow the program to finish loading for the standard user.
Windows 7 x64 and Office 2013 were both installed as standard as could be. The Event Log was not picking up any significant errors to help with troubleshooting. The usual culprit when only Excel’s Safe Mode works comes down to the program add-ins. From what I could see under Safe Mode, there were no add-ins trying to load, which took me back to the drawing board.
The computer’s main function would be to run a piece of monitoring software 24/7. The primary operator, after I explained some of the symptoms I had further teased out of the Excel issue, then told me that there should have been an add-in for Excel. From there, I was able to track down the issue to its cause.
The reason that Excel was working for the Administrator and no other accounts was that the Administrator account was the one to install the monitoring software and all other accounts were created afterwards. During the software install, it loaded the Excel add-ins for the Admin user. It also copied the .xla and .xlam files to c:Program Files (x86)Microsoft OfficeOffice15XLSTART.
By putting the add-ins in the central Excel startup folder, every Excel launch was trying to initialize the add-ins but didn’t know anything about them.
I was able to temporarily move the add-ins from the XLSTART folder and found Excel worked perfectly for all accounts. In Excel, under the User accounts, I then went to File, Options, and Add-Ins. Near the bottom, I clicked the Go… button for Manage ‘Excel add-ins’ in the drop-down. In the window that popped up I was able to browse to the vendor’s folder under C:Program Files (x86)Common Files and load the add-ins. Once the add-in was selected for the user, I put the .xla and .xlam files back in XLSTART and everything was working properly.
Office Safe Mode usually indicates a problem with a loaded add-in. In this case, however, it was pointing to an add-in that it expected to be loading.