"Cannot download the information you requested" executing web query from Excel


Have you ever encountered this problem? When trying to pull data via a web query in Excel you get an error saying “Unable to open https://… <your site location> Cannot download the information you requested.” and clicking OK dismisses the web query. As in no data. What’s going on here?

What’s going on is when you execute a web query, Excel will ask URLMON to download a copy of the file given byu the web URL and URLMON has navigated to the address. However, the page has a “Pragma: no-cache” header (see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/165150 and http://support.microsoft.com/kb/222064 for more information) in it, which tells WININET (which IE uses) to avoid saving the web page to the Internet Explorer cache. In order for the download operation to work, the file has to be saved to IE. Not allowing the file to be cached causes the error you see in Excel and in turn, nobody is happy.

To resolve this situation, there are a couple of things you can do:

1. Edit the web page from where you are pulling your data and remove the no-cache header. You would be looking for a meta tag like the following:

<HTTP-EQUIV=”PRAGMA” CONTENT=”NO-CACHE”>

or

2. You can direct the client computer to set the Internet Explorer option to bypass the no-cache check for SSL sites (remember the https:// in the sample URL above). To do this, go to START and in the RUN line type REGEDIT. In the registry navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings. Right click Internet Settings and left click New > DWORD Value (32-bit) and name the new value “BypassSSLNoCacheCheck” without the quotes. Double click this value and give it a value of 1.

Then try the web query again.

Comments (11)

  1. Anonymous says:

    For Me Derek Watts’ solution worked
    I navigated to Tools >Internet Options >Advanced, then scroll down until you see the tick box for ‘Do not save encrypted pages to disk’. Just un-check that, then close I.E, and it works fine.

  2. Prabhu Periasamy says:

    I would recommend to set the following headers. It worked for me.

           response.setHeader("Cache-Control", "max-age=0");

           response.setHeader("Pragma", "public");

  3. Jurgen Hissen says:

    I ran into this just now.  It was actually fixed by a restart, in the end.  May have had to do with a recent password change.

  4. Anything Easier? says:

    All of a sudden Excel won't find any of the links in my 6 months work of cases.

  5. Jake Moskowitz, Deutsche Bank says:

    Worked for me !   Thanks !!!

  6. Alessandro says:

    Thank you so much. it works perfectly fine for me. All my dashboards are up and running again!

  7. Andreas says:

    This workaround is useless. The reason I want to put a hyperlink in a workbook is for other users to be able to open it. You can't expect me to tell all those other users to change their registry settings before using my Excel file.

    Changing the HTTP header is also ridiculous because it assumes I control that web site, which is not the case.

  8. Derek Watts says:

    I ran into this some time ago, and again today after Kaspersky made some changes to perceived 'vulnerabilities'. My Excel stock program could no longer import the web data which resides behind an https address. I navigated to Tools >Internet Options >Advanced, then scroll down until you see the tick box for 'Do not save encrypted pages to disk'. Just un-check that, then close I.E, and it works fine.

  9. Abo Naowass says:

    Derek Watts’ solution worked for me too, thank you

  10. BJ says:

    What if it is not a https page and still get this error?

  11. Andrew says:

    I appreciate the workaround. I’ve sent this to our IT dept to see if they can implement. However, I would like to point out that this should be considered a serious bug in Excel. There’s no reason it should behave like this.