The Sort may fail with the following error and then Excel can be unstable due to lack of resources.
On 64 bit Excel 2010 the sort may finish but will take a considerably longer time to finish the sort.
Depending on the number of rows selected you may see the following alert.
The operation you are about to perform affects a large number of cells and may take a significant amount of time to complete. Are you sure you want to continue?
This problem happens when you select all of the cells in the worksheet (clicking the Select All button or ctrl+a to select all cells) or entire rows of cells before you sort your data.
Note: Microsoft does not recommend choosing the Select All button before sorting. When Select All Button is chose the user is selecting over 17 billion cells.
You can find the latest Cumulative Updates for Office and what issues were fixed in them using the following KB article.
953878 Cumulative updates are available from the Microsoft Office team to fix reported problems
A best practice when sorting is allow Excel to automatically detect your sort range by placing your mouse cursor in the table and selecting sort. You can also use ctrl+* (ctrl+shift+8) to have Excel select the current region before sorting. If your range has empty rows or columns in it you may need to select the specific range manually before sorting.
Note: If you have a Defined Name 'Database' Excel will select that range rather than auto detecting the current region.
If you are sorting cells in a VBA macro you should specify the range of cells to be sorted in your code.
291308 How to select cells/ranges by using Visual Basic procedures in Excel