"Unable to read file" error message when you open a workbook in Excel 2002

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When you try to open a workbook, you receive the following error message:
Unable to read file.
After you click OK, the Document Recovery task pane does not appear, and the workbook is not recovered.
This problem may occur if the file contains damage to different portions of the file structure. Microsoft Excel 2002 detects the first piece of damage, and then tries to repair it by starting Excel in Safe mode. Excel then detects the remaining damage in the document, and then tries to restart itself in a minimal-load mode. This second attempt to restart Excel fails, and the symptom occurs.

Service Pack Information

This problem is corrected in Office XP Service Pack 3.To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Microsoft Office XP. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
307841 How to obtain the latest Office XP Service Pack

Hotfix Information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.The English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:
   Date         Time   Size        File name   -------------------------------------------   11-Jan-2003  03:41  14,998,252  Excelff.msp   15-Jan-2003  18:25   2,444,012  Excelop.msp
After the hotfix is installed, the English version of this fix will have the file attributes (or later) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in coordinated universal time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time tool in Control Panel.
   Date        Time      Version      Size       File name   -------------------------------------------------------   9-Jan-2003  14:31:35  10.0.4907.0  9,181,768  Excel.exe				

Note This hotfix does not address all occurences of this error message; it only makes sure that Excel tries to fix all occurences of corruption in the file. If the file is corrupted beyond repair, you may still receive the error message that is listed in the "Applies to" section, and you cannot open the file.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was first corrected in Office XP Service Pack 3.
Excel Minimal-Load mode occurs if Excel loads into memory the absolute minimum necessary to run itself.

Article ID: 812384 - Last Review: 12/08/2015 01:51:15 - Revision: 5.0

Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition

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