Error opening Office documents after upgrading to Windows 10


After upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, you may find that some of your Office 2013 documents do not open and you receive one of the following errors:

  1. Word: “Word experienced an error trying to open the file”
  2. Excel: “This file is corrupt and cannot be opened”
  3. PowerPoint: one of the following -
    • “The application was unable to start correctly"
    • “PowerPoint found a problem with <filename>"
    • “Sorry, PowerPoint can’t read <filename>"


This happens when a document is trying to open in Protected Mode, which occurs when opening some Outlook attachments or documents from untrusted locations.


Try running this troubleshooter. The manual steps for workarounds are provided below, but they shouldn’t be necessary if you run the troubleshooter.

Manual steps:

There are two workarounds for this issue. Try the first workaround, and if that doesn’t resolve the issue, try the second.

Workaround 1: Run a command to correct folder permissions
  1. Highlight the following command, and press Ctrl+C to Copy it: icacls "%programfiles%\Microsoft Office 15" /grant *S-1-15-2-1:(OI)(CI)RX
  2. In Windows 10, press-and-hold or right-click on the Start button and choose Command Prompt (Admin).
  3. In the Command Prompt window, tap or click the upper left of the window to open the command menu. Choose Edit, and then select Paste to paste in the command.
  4. Press Enter to run the command.

Once the command is run, your files should open without an error.

Workaround 2: Run an online repair of Office

  1. In Windows 10, right-click on the Start button and choose Control Panel.
  2. Select Programs – Uninstall a program, or Programs and Features.
  3. Choose the entry for your Office program and select Change.
  4. Select Online Repair and click Repair.
Once the repair is complete, your files should open without an error.

More Information

You may have seen forum posts or third-party content that recommend disabling or bypassing Protected View to prevent this issue. We strongly discourage you from following these suggestions as it reduces the security of Office and leaves your computer open to attack from malicious users.

Article ID: 3086786 - Last Review: 11 Aug 2015 - Revision: 1