Group policy prevents macro enable excel files to open.

Copper Contributor


I'm encountering a peculiar issue with several standalone machines running different versions of Windows 10. These machines recently underwent a security assessment, prompting the application of GPO policies individually. However, I've run into an unexpected problem.

Following the application of the policies, Excel is unable to open macro-enabled files, displaying an error stating, "the file format or file extension is not valid." Strangely, reverting the group policies resolves the issue.

Despite attempting to address the problem by repairing the Office installation, verifying file security options, and examining the GPOs, the root cause remains elusive.

These machines operate outside the domain and are running Windows 10 Enterprise 1607 LTSB, with Office version 2016 (16.0.5439.1000). It's worth noting that I migrated the policies from a Windows 10 Pro 22H2 template to a 1607 machine.

Any insights or suggestions on resolving this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

1 Reply


It seems like the Group Policy settings applied to the standalone machines are causing Excel to block macro-enabled files from opening. This issue can be challenging to diagnose, but here are some suggestions to troubleshoot and resolve it:

  1. Check Group Policy Settings: Review the Group Policy settings that were applied to the machines. Look for any policies related to macro security settings, file type associations, or Office application behavior. Ensure that none of these policies are inadvertently blocking macro-enabled files.
  2. Verify File Associations: Confirm that Excel is properly associated with macro-enabled file types (e.g., .xlsm). You can do this by checking the default programs and file type associations in the Windows settings.
  3. Macro Security Settings: Double-check Excel's macro security settings to ensure they allow the execution of macros from trusted locations. You can adjust these settings in Excel under the "Trust Center" options.
  4. Verify Office Installation: Ensure that the Office installation is complete and functioning correctly. Try repairing the Office installation or reinstalling it if necessary.
  5. Test on Different Machines: Test opening macro-enabled files on other machines with similar configurations to see if the issue is specific to these standalone machines.
  6. Event Viewer Logs: Check the Event Viewer logs on the affected machines for any errors or warnings related to Excel or Office applications. This may provide clues about what is causing the issue.
  7. Consult with IT Security: If you're unsure about the specific security policies that may be affecting Excel's behavior, consult with your IT security team or a knowledgeable IT professional to review the Group Policy settings and their impact.

By systematically reviewing and troubleshooting these potential causes, you should be able to identify and resolve the issue preventing Excel from opening macro-enabled files on the affected standalone machines.

Note: My knowledge of this topic is limited, but since no one has answered it, I entered your question in various AI. The text and the steps are the result of AI’s.


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