Troubleshooting PowerPoint startup

I recently had a user who was getting a blank pop-up when starting PowerPoint 2010. It was working in 2007. The first thing I though was ADD-IN!!! We tried starting PowerPoint in Office safe mode (hold down CTRL key while starting PowerPoint and click Yes) but we got the same pop-up. The first place we looked was in the user interface under File/Options/Add-Ins, select COM Add-ins on the Manage drop down at the bottom of the screen and clicked Go button.


Unchecked anything in that COM Add-ins window and exited PowerPoint. Same problem. Then I went back to File/Options/Add-Ins/Manage: PowerPoint Add-ins/Go button. Nothing there. By this time I was ready to hit the registry. So we went to Start/Run/regedit/OK. First I checked under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint for anything called PowerPoint Add-ins. Didn’t see anything. Next I tried under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint, and found a subkey called DLL Add ins but nothing in that. Then I see under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\PowerPoint there’s a subkey called Addins. Nothing there either. So by this time I was a little stumped.

The user told me what add-in they thought it was and we looked under Program Files and found a ppa file. When we renamed that we got an error that PowerPoint could not find the add-in <filename.ppa>. I checked the registry again and still couldn’t find where the add-in was setup.

I finally decided to use a tool called Process Monitor to see what PowerPoint is querying in the registry. So I downloaded, extracted and ran Procmon.exe, then started PowerPoint and stopped capture. I did a CTRL+F to search for that ppa file and found it in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\11.0\PowerPoint. Under the name of the add-in there was an LoadBehavior setting (DWORD) that was set to 1. I changed the setting to 2 but same issue starting PowerPoint. So I changed LoadBehavior to 0 and now the pop-up was gone.

Troubleshooting Startup

Things you can try to isolate the problem. This is mainly if you suspect an add-in issue. One scenario is if you upgraded from a previous version of Office and are now seeing odd behaviors at startup

  • Office Safe Mode
    • Hold down CTRL key while starting PowerPoint or go to Run window (Start/Run) and type powerpnt.exe /safe
  • Check the Templates folder for a default template. No default template exists by default.
  • Look for blank.potx or blank.pot or default.potx or default.pot
  • Vista and Windows 7:
  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates (you need show hidden files and folders turned on in Folder Options)
    • Tip1: You can go to the Run window, Start/Run or Windows key + R, then type %AppData% and press Enter to open the AppData directory.
    • Tip2: In PowerPoint you can just go to Save As, and change the ‘Save as type’ to PowerPoint Template (*.potx), or the older version of PowerPoint Template (*.pot) and it’ll take you right to that directory.
  • Windows XP
  • C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
  • Check the add-ins console and disable any add-ins
  • File/Options/Add-Ins/Manage
  • COM Add-ins
  • PowerPoint Add-in
  • Check the following subkeys in the registry for any folders with add-ins in the name and look under them:
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint
      • Also check under any other versions under PowerPoint (8.0, 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, 12.0, etc) especially if you upgraded Office
    • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\PowerPoint
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint\DLL Addins
    • Also check under any other versions under PowerPoint (8.0, 9.0, 10.0, 11.0, 12.0, etc) especially if you upgraded Office
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\PowerPoint\Addins
  • If you’re running Office on Windows 64-bit (and you don’t have Office 2010 64-bit installed) check under these keys instead:
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\14.0\PowerPoint
    • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Office\PowerPoint\Addins

*Expand the add-ins folder on the left and look for a folder for the name of the add-in you are looking for underneath the add-ins folder. Once you find the folder select it on the left and on the right double-click on LoadBehavior, change the value to 0. In the screenshot below I have the Search Commands add-in currently set to 3. I double-clicked LoadBehavior, changed the value to 0, left Base set to Hexadecimal and clicked OK. Now the add-in no longer loads.



If you determine an add-in is causing a problem. Check Add/Remove Programs or Programs and Features. If the add-in is listed there and you have no use for it you could install it but a word of caution before doing that. Sometimes you use add-ins and don’t even know it. If you uninstall it you may have a tough time finding it again if you really need it.

  • Change the default printer in the printers folder
  • Close PowerPoint, then right-click printer in the Printers folder and choose Set as default
  • In Windows XP it’s under Printers and Faxes
  • In Vista just click the Start button and type Printers and hit Enter key
  • In Windows 7 click Start button and click Devices and Printers

Data Collecting

If you receive a crash or hang when starting PowerPoint you may want to check the Event Viewer, in the Application log for a Source=Application Error event with Event ID=1000. The details may give insight on what’s causing the problem. Mainly the Faulting Application Name and Faulting Module Name. Then look for an event with Source=Windows Error Reporting event with Event ID=1001. This event will be present after the Application Error event if Windows Error Reporting (formerly Dr. Watson) was sent and the report was successfully sent to our Online Crash Analysis servers. This event has a summary of what was sent to our servers. The most important piece here, as far as I’m concerned is the Fault Bucket or Bucket ID. This helps us map the crash to our backend and can help us analyze the crash.



If the problem only occurs with a particular add-in and disabling just that add-in resolves the problem then contacting the maker of that add-in would probably be a good idea and provide them the version of the add-in. You could obtain more information about the version of the add-in by checking the DLL which you may be able to find by looking in the registry paths I provided above or simply checking the Program Files directory I provided above or in Add/Remove Programs, Programs and Features.

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Work with powerpoint documents via online repair powerpoint pptx file

  2. paul says:

    Very helpful in diagnosing a recent problem with a Bloomberg add-in

  3. Phil says:

    Super helpful. Found a PDFMaker add-in that may have been the problem.

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