Windows

Fix: Problem Sending the Command to the Program

Windows is full of surprises when you encounter error messages such as this one out of the blue. “There was a problem sending a command to the program”  usually indicates that a window has failed to connect with the MS Office Applications (such as Excel, Word or Access database etc.) in the process of sending DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) commands to the MS Office applications. As a result, you are not able to run MS Office Applications.

Sometimes, this error can be corrected by itself, as the error message pops up only once and the applications run in the second or third attempt. BUT this does not mean it should be left untreated, hence it needs to be fixed manually, as it may come back.

If you have the Microsoft’s Compatibility Viewer then uninstall it and try to open the Excel file. If it doesn’t work then repair the Microsoft Office (from the programs and features window) and then check.

Repair Corrupt System Files

Download and run Reimage Plus to scan for corrupt files from here, if files are found to be corrupt and missing repair them using Reimage Plus in addition to performing the Methods below.

Method 1: Disabling Run program as administrator

Select Properties by Right clicking on the shortcut of the applications showing the error message and select the Compatibility tab.

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Uncheck the Run program as administrator box if its checked or enabled.

Method 2: Checking DDE Option (Excel)

Open MS Office EXCEL and open Excel Options box from the OFFICE Menu by clicking on the Office icon on the top left corner of the application and click on Advanced 

Locate the option called Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) under General Options and uncheck/disable it. Restart the office application after applying changes.

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If the Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE) option is unchecked or disabled, enable the option from the check box and restart the office application and then again uncheck the option and restart the office application.

Method 3: Change Excel Settings

There are a few settings that you can change to see if it helps. There are a lot of options that you can change but you don’t have to change all of these settings. You can change the settings one-by-one and keep checking if the problem is resolved.

  1. Open Microsoft Excel
  2. Click File

  1. Select Options

  1. Select Advanced from the left pane
  2. Uncheck the option Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE). This option should be in the General
  3. Click Ok and check if the problem is still there or not. If the problem persists then continue

  1. Select Trust Center
  2. Click Trust Center Settings

  1. Select External Content
  2. Enable both Security settings for Data Connections and Security settings for Workbook Links
  3. Click Ok and check if the problem is solved. If not then continue.

  1. Select Trust Center
  2. Click Trust Center Settings
  3. Select Macro Settings
  4. Select the option Enable all macros (not recommended; potentially dangerous code can run)
  5. Check the option Trust access to the VBA project object model
  6. Click Ok and check if the problem is solved. If not then continue.

  1. Select Trust Center
  2. Click Trust Center Settings
  3. Select ActiveX Settings
  4. Select the option Enable all controls without restrictions and without prompting. (not recommended; potentially dangerous code can run)
  5. Click Ok and check if the problem is solved. If not then continue.

  1. Select Trust Center
  2. Click Trust Center Settings
  3. Select Privacy Options
  4. Uncheck the option Check Microsoft Office Documents that are from or link to suspicious websites.
  5. Click Ok and check if the problem is solved.

Method 4: Registry Fix

Even if the method 1 didn’t work for you there is still hope for you. There is a registry fix that has worked for a lot of users. Follow the steps given below to fix the issue via the registry.

Note: Messing up registry keys can cause serious issues. So, it is advised to make a backup of your registry keys in case something goes wrong. Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to backup and restore your registry.

  1. Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R
  2. Type regedit in the box and press Enter or click ok.

  1. Now, navigate to this address HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Excel.Sheet.8\shell\Open. If you don’t know how to navigate to this path then follow the steps given below
    1. Locate and double click HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT from the left pane
    2. Locate and double click Excel.Sheet.8 from the left pane
    3. Locate and double click shell from the left pane
    4. Locate and double click Open from the left pane

  1. Right click ddeexec folder/key (it should be under Open) and select Delete. You can also just rename the ddeexec folder/key if you aren’t comfortable. Simply right click and select Rename, and just give it any name you want.

  1. Now, select the command folder/key by left clicking it once (it should be under Open)
  2. Double click the Default string from the right pane
  3. Replace the /e or /dde part of the value with “%1”. Note: Include the quotes as well.
  4. The Default string’s value should look like this “C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15\EXCEL.EXE” “%1”
  5. Click Ok

  1. Double click the command string from the right pane
  2. Replace the /e or /dde part of the value with “%1”. Note: Include the quotes as well.
  3. The Command string’s value should look like this yh1BV5!!!!4!!!!MKKSkEXCELFiles>Of1RD?I9b9j[2hL]KhO& “%1”
  4. Click Ok

  1. Now, scroll up just a little bit in the pane and double click Excel.Sheet.12
  2. Repeat steps from 4-13 for Excel.Sheet.12

Once done, check if the issue is resolved or not.

Method 5: Check and Disable Excel Add-ins

Sometimes the Excel add-ins might cause this issue. If you recently installed an add-in or around the time when this problem started then that is an indicator as well. Even if you don’t remember, disabling or uninstalling the add-ins from your Excel is worth a try.

  1. Open Excel
  2. Click File

  1. Select Options

  1. Select the Add-ins from the left pane
  2. Select the Add-in from the list

  1. In the Manage box, click Excel Add-ins, and then click Go…
  2. In the Add-Ins available box, uncheck the option next to the add-in that you want to disable. We will recommend to disable all the add-ins just to check if the problem is caused by the add-ins or not.
  3. Once done, click ok

  1. Click Ok again

This should do the job for you. If the problem is resolved then it’s clear that an add-in was causing the issue. You can now follow the above given steps and enable the add-ins one-by-one to determine which add-in was the root of the problem.

Method 6: Disable Dell Data Protection Security Authentication Service

Note: This method is for Dell users. If you aren’t using a Dell computer then skip this method.

If you have a Dell machine then the issue might be related to the Dell Data Protection Security Authentication Service. This is a service installed via Dell’s Digital Delivery service. Its main purpose is to provide security solution and authentication support. The reason behind the problem relating to this service is not known but there are a ton of Dell users who solved their issue by disabling or uninstalling this Dell service.

The steps to disable the Dell Data Protection Security Authentication Service are given below

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type services.msc and press Enter

  1. Locate and double click the Dell Data Protection Security Authentication Service

  1. Select Disabled from the drop down menu
  2. Make sure the service status is stopped. If it isn’t then click the Stop button in the Service Status section
  3. Click Apply then select Ok

Check if the issue is resolved. If the problem is gone then you know the culprit behind the issue. You can keep this service disabled without facing any major issues. You can also uninstall this service from the Programs and Features window if you really don’t want the service. On the other hand, if the problem still persists then you can simply turn on the service back again. Just follow the steps from 1-6 above but select the Automatic option in step 4.

Method 7: Disable Hardware Acceleration

The problem might also be caused by your video card. So, disabling this option solves the issue. This isn’t a solution but more of a workaround. So, keep checking for the latest updates from your video card manufacturer because there’s a high likelihood that your card manufacturer will release an update for this issue.

  1. Open Excel
  2. Click File

  1. Select Options

  1. Select Advanced from the left pane
  2. Check the option Disable Hardware Acceleration. This option should be under the Display section
  3. Click Ok

Once done, this should solve the issue. Keep this option enabled until you see a new update from your video card manufacturer. You should disable this option after updating the video card. If this method doesn’t solve the issue then there’s no need to keep this option enabled. Simply follow the steps given above and Uncheck the Disable Hardware Acceleration option in the step 5.

Method 8: Reset Default Programs and File Associations

Sometimes the issue can be caused the Excel isn’t the default program to run the .xlsx files. Simply making Excel the default program and resetting the file associations solves this issue for us.

Follow the steps given below to reset the file associations

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type control panel and press Enter

  1. Type Default programs in the search bar located at the top right corner
  2. Select the Default Programs option

  1. Select Set your default programs

  1. Wait a while for the list to populate
  2. Locate and select Excel
  3. Click Choose defaults for this program

  1. Check the option Select All
  2. Click Save

Method 9: Uninstalling Additional Office Viewer:

This error message may also occur, if you have installed Office Viewer next in conjunction to Microsoft Office. If this is the case, uninstall it and re-test.

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Expert Tip

Fix: Problem Sending the Command to the Program

If the issue is with your Computer or a Laptop you should try using Reimage Plus which can scan the repositories and replace corrupt and missing files. This works in most cases, where the issue is originated due to a system corruption. You can download Reimage by clicking the Download button below.

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