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Fix “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program” Error in Windows 10

If you are a Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word user, then you may come across this error called ” There was a problem sending the command to the program” in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 PCs. In this article, I will be showing you how to fix this problem in Windows PCs.

The error occurs when you try to open an Excel file or Word file on your Windows PC. This may only happen for specific Excel files or Word files.

Why it occurs?

The problem seems to occur due to Dynamic Data Exchange feature or commonly known as DDE as reported by the Microsoft. It is a communal protocol used by Windows to open certain “file types” that communicates between the source and the target before opening any file. This mechanism is used to prevent the opening of multiple instances of a program when not required.

Keeping that in mind, when you try to open an Excel file or Word file the Windows sends DDE command to MS Office and when it fails to connect to the application you get “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program” error message.

How to fix this error?

There are multiple solutions to this problem as it can occur due to several reasons. I have listed all the possible solutions in the post below. Try to follow the instructions given below.

Fix 1: Restart your PC and Run Repair

At times the error “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program” may only occur temporarily, and you may be able to resolve it by restarting your PC. Do give it a try, if this does not work, we have some good working solutions listed below.

If restarting the PC did not fix the problem, then try Microsoft Office repair.

Open Control Panel and go to Programs and Features.

Right-click on Microsoft Office in the programs listed and select “Change“.

In the new window, select Repair and click Continue.

Now, wait till the repairing process is over. Once done, try to open the file and see if the error has been resolved.

Fix 2: Disable Ignore DDE Option for Microsoft Office

The solution is to disable the option in Microsoft Office applications options that ignores the applications that use DDE. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the Microsoft Office program such as Excel or Word.

  2. Click on File and select “Options“.

  3. In “Option” window, click the Advanced tab from the left pane.

  4. Now scroll down the “General” section under the “Advanced” tab in the right pane.

  5. Uncheck the option “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE)“.

  1. Click OK to save the changes and close the applications.

Now try to open the file and see if the error is resolved now. In most of the cases, this should fix the issue.

Fix 3: Uninstall AVG TuneUp

Now if you are using the AVG TuneUP utility tool on your PC and getting the “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program”, this program could be the culprit.

Some of the users have complained that after uninstalling the AVG TuneUP utility, they were to able to fix the issue.

If you don’t want to uninstall it then open AVG TuneUP program, go to “Optimise” tab and click “Disable Programs” option. Here you have enabled “Microsoft Office Suite” option.

Once done, now try to open the file that was giving the error and see if it is resolved now.

If you don’t have AVG TuneUP utility, then try to disable your Anti-Virus temporarily and see if that fixes the problem.

Fix 4: Disable Admin Mode for Microsoft Office

If you have the admin mode enable for Microsoft Office, then you may face this “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program” error. The fix for this is to disable “Run as administrator” option. Here is how to do it.

Right-click on the shortcut of Microsoft Office application that is giving the error and select “Properties”.

If you don’t have the shortcut on Desktop, search it in Cortana search bar. Right-click on it and select Open File Location. Now right-click on the app shortcut and select “Properties“.

For Windows 10 and Above:

  • Go to the “Shortcut” tab and then click “Advance” button.
  • Next, uncheck “Run this program as administrator“.

For Windows 8.1 and Below:

  • If you are in Windows 8.1 or below, then click the “Compatibility” tab.
  • Now uncheck the option “Run this program as an administrator“.

Now apply the changes and see if this has resolved the problem.

Fix 5: Manually Select the Program to Use

If nothing seems working, you can force the Windows to open the file with your preferred Microsoft Office program. For this, we can use the Open with option. Here is how to do it.

  1. Right-click on the file that is giving the error and select “Open with” option.

  2. Next, click More apps and scroll down to the bottom.

  3. Now click “Look for another app on this PC“.

  1. Next, open Microsoft Office folder and then open Office 2015 or the Office version folder you have installed.

  2. Here, look for the .exe file of the Microsoft Office program that is giving you the error.

For example, if you are facing the problem with a excel file then select Excel.exe and if you are facing the problem with Word file then select WINWORD.exe.

Click Open and the file should open without any problem now. This fix should solve the problem.

Fix 6: Disable Protected View in Word

If you have downloaded a file from the internet and trying to open it in MS Word, then you may see this error “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program”. This could be because you have enabled Protected view feature in MS Word.

To fix this do the following:

Open Microsoft Word. Click on File and select Options.

Click “Trust Centre” tab from the left pane and select “Trust Center Settings“.

From the left pane click on “Protected View“.

Now, uncheck all the options listed below:

  • Enable Protected View for the files originating from the Internet.
  • Enable Protected View for the files located in potentially unsafe location.
  • Enable Protected View for Outlook attachments.

Click OK to save the changes.

Fix 7: Edit the Registry Entries

If nothing seems working, you can try deleting the “Data” key from the Registry to fix the “There was a Problem Sending the Command to the Program” error in Windows 10.

Follow these steps to fix it:

  • Press Windows Key + R to open Run dialogue box.
  • Type Regedit and hit enter to open Registry Editor.
  • In the Registry Editor window, navigate to the following key path:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office
  • Here you should see the Office version such as 15.0, 10.0 13.0, etc. Click on the number (15.0 or whatever version you have) to expand it.
  • Now expand the Microsoft Office program that was giving the error. If you have a problem opening an Excel file, then expand the Excel key.
  • You should see Data key under it. Right-click on it and select Delete.

Now close the registry Editor and relaunch the file that was showing error earlier.

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