"Excel cannot complete this task with available resources" after installing MS12-030 (updated)

After you install MS12-030 (Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel could allow remote code execution - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2663830) you may see the following error message appear when trying to do sorts in your spreadsheet: “Excel cannot complete this task with available resources. Choose less data or close other applications.”

Updated - 6/28/2012 - a fix for this problem is now in the June Cumulative update located here - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2712235 and fixes the problem described here - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2687317.

This problem happens when you highlight the entire spreadsheet by clicking the upper left button to select all cells (circled in red below).

When you select all of the cells using this button and then perform a custom sort, the error message appears on 32-bit versions of Excel. On 64-bit versions of Excel, the sort won't produce an error, but it will take a longer time than expected to perform the sort operation.


Note: If you have installed the update you will want to remove the registry key.  Having the update and the regkey will still exhibit the behavior. 


UPDATE 4/19/2013:  This is just one of the reasons that you may get this error message.  There has been a new KB article that addresses many other cases for the error see the following KB for more information.  

2779852 How to Troubleshooting Available Resources errors in Excel

Comments (39)

  1. We had the same issue while working on Pivot tables with 350000 rows of data. The solution we found is to run the excel with "Run as Administrator" and open the file. Excel started supporting more memory and this error has never occurred again

  2. CB, for now the workaround is all we have, though I believe a hotfix is pending. As soon as I get more info on that I'll post it.

    Keep in mind you can select the top left corner of your data and then use CTRL+SHIFT+DOWN ARROW to select all the way down to the end of the data, then CTRL+SHIFT+RIGHT ARROW to select to the right boundary of the data.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This problem is occured in excel 2013 too !

  4. The fix has been released folks. It's in the June CU – support.microsoft.com/…/2712235

  5. Anonymous says:

    Applying th hotfix for Excel 32-bit (running under Windows 7 64-bit) worked for me.

  6. CB says:

    Hi – i see what you mean – this never use to happen before. I have a spreadsheet with 100,000 entries – how do i do this without trying to scroll and take a long time – vs hitting the corner as i usually do which creates this problem ? I t also gave me the same error when i tried to insert a row?


  7. Joe says:

    Building on Will Buffington's advice, if you expect you will be sorting a range of data frequently, you should name it. Type a name (no spaces) in the Name Box to the left of the formula bar, the place where you usually see a cell address like A1, after you have selected your data.

    The next time you want to sort, you can pull your name from the name box drop-down list.

  8. cb@chatterboxsvs.com says:

    thanks Will. I also notice that trying to save a file by hitting the "file" tab does not work – you have to hit the diskette ICON to "save as". this is after I sort or work on the spreadsheet.



  9. NW says:

    This problem seems to not be limited to selecting the entire dataset.  When I select on the ~7000 rows I want to sort and hit the sort button, Excel automatically creates new columns up to some ungodly count like XFA which takes orders of magnitude longer to sort, cannot be deleted manually, and makes navigating the spreadsheet extremely difficult.  I hope this is resolved soon, but it is really an unacceptable problem in my books as this has severely impacted my productivity and took a long time to triangulate the source of the problem.

  10. Zach says:


    Do we have an ETA on the Hotfix?  I'm stopping deployment of this patch to my company and waiting on a new patch release.  Do we think in the next week?  Next couple of days?  Another month?

    Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop on this!

  11. Kevin says:

    Please provide information on uninstalling the security update as well as a timeline for a hotfix. This problem significantly slows down my work, and there are a lot of people on the message boards trying to figure out if this is a Microsoft issue or a virus that they've gotten.

  12. Linda Ciprich says:

    Here's my work around:

    Place cursor in first cell of your worksheet (A1). Then hold down Shift+Ctrl+End. It will highlight your entire worksheet as though you clicked that top left button, but will not give you the error message that you got previously when you perform a sort. Believe me, I was extremely frustrated after the security update when I got that message with a spreadsheet that had a measley 7,000 lines of data. I explained to our IT guy that I did not have that problem previous to the update, even on a spreadsheet with over 510,000 lines of data. Now I have showed him the Shift+Ctrl+End shortcut that works on the super sized spreadsheet.

  13. nick says:


    My problem appears randomly, i have tried 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Excel, and uninstall the update(KB2597166). without any solutions…

    Best Regards // Nick

  14. LJ says:

    I can't belive this is not fixed yet.  I keep removing the update and it keeps coming back.  Very disappointing that this is still happening.

  15. Zach says:

    Will – are there any updates on if this is going to be fixed in next week's patching cycle?

    Any updates at all?

  16. 2step says:

    when will this be fixed?

    i've wasted hours dealing with this problem.

  17. LJ says:

    Does anyone know how to fix the random row height of 409.5? Where is the Quality Control at Microsoft.  I know there are many 'WORK AROUNDS' to these problems, but why don't they just fix the problem?  Pretty soon we'll have to stand on one food and make sure it's Wednesdays to get our jobs done.

  18. Ben Oldham says:

    Its causing me headaches in a pivot table. Really annoying.

  19. Robert says:

    Dear Excel team, Excel 64-bit also has the error message coming up, not just a slow response. Also, it's not only a problem with sorts. If you try to insert a row into a large sheet, same error message. It could be that any operation that affects an entire sheet has this problem. By the way, I believe lots of people will manually disable this hotfix, but please don't accidently include it in any later rollups.

  20. PatRick says:

    This is the best information I have seen on this problem.  I have been hunting around all day for a solution to this after trying to sort my spreadsheets which usually perform in a few seconds and finding that they will only sort by selecting a section of rows and then it takes an extraordinary long time.  I tried removing Microsoft Security Essentials as this was recommended in one post but that had no affect, nor did repairing Microsoft Office.

  21. PatRick says:

    I found that removing the security update has fixed this problem on my 32-bit computer running Excel 2010 and Windows Vista.

    To uninstall the update I went to Control Panel -> Programs and Features – > click on "View installed updates" (under Tasks in the left hand bar).

    Scroll down to Microsoft Office Home and Student. Find underneath this "Security Update for Microsoft Excel 2010 (KB2597166) 32-Bit Edition".  Click on it and then click Uninstall from the menu bar above it.  Follow the prompts.  

    I believe from the MS12-030 page referred to above that the file for Excel 2007 would be KB2597162.

    Thankyou Will Buffington.


  22. Vojta says:

    Hi, any news about fix? We had to disable Windows update service on all our computer until bug will be fixed. KB2597166 turned our Excel VBA application completely useless…

  23. M Vieira says:

    So when will Microsoft release a fix to fix the fix?  This cost me hours of work, as I was convinced I had some sort of malware causing my computer to slow down, just to find out that Excel was messed up–simply sorting a worksheet caused Excel to mark ALL columns as used, therefore running out of resources.  Thanks, MS!

  24. Poor Little Support Technician says:

    Ohh the whining! Put me down for head trauma on this one too.

    I don't want to pull this entirely from WSUS (which doesn't seem to work properly (scheduling for removal))

    I know it hasn't been a month since this blog was published but some sort of update would be welcomed. Growing weary of the whining…

  25. nick says:

    We still have several machines with this problem and remove the MS update will not work for us …

    We really need a solution. so please can not work like this…

  26. Joe says:

    I'm sad to report that the patch has not completely cured the issue. While some files now sort when the entire worksheet is selected, large data sets still continue to generate the out-of-resources error message when the user selects all rows before sorting.

    Worse, once the error is generated, Excel remains bogey and slow until it is restarted.

  27. Chris says:

    Even after installing the hotfix, we are still seeing the same issue with documents that have a 10,000+ rows when sorting.  Hopefully there will be another hotfix for this issue.

  28. wk says:

    I found the only way to fix the random 409.5 row height issue is to select the whole worksheet and set the vertical alignment to centered.

  29. kim says:

    I did what Patrick said and I am so HAPPY!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh what a releif

  30. George says:

    I also uninstalled the KB2597166 update as suggested on a Microsoft forum (social.technet.microsoft.com/…/7685e3d6-1d48-4609-8882-1d4b0c15d305), which resolved the problem for sorting files with 64 bit Excel under 64 bit Windows 7.  Unfortunately, Microsoft's update service re-installed the update the same night, so I'm back where I started.  I don't look forward to uninstalling this update every day when I need to sort large files.

  31. Michelle says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!! hours of time wasted… work around but so far it works!

  32. Date incorrect above? says:

    The date above next to "Updated – " should be 6/28/2012 not 6/28/2011, correct?

  33. rohit netke says:


    I am having issue with MS Excel 2007. When ever i try to copy maximum rows from other Excel Report file Especially JDEdwards, and try to paste in MS Excel 2007 it gives me error "Excel cannot complete task with available resource. choose less data or close othr applications". But i do not wish to close JDEdwards on any other Applications.

    Please kindly suggest me what can i do in this scenario?

    waiting for positive suggestion.



  34. Steven Forster says:

    All of the fixes that MS has put out, clearing the XLSTART folder, clearing the temp folder, performing a repair to office and any other suggestion/fix/solution have not worked thus far and I am still having this issue.

    Really MS, is your only solution to buy a new version of office?

  35. LB says:

    First of all God bless Linda Ciprich who posted a 'fix' on 30 May 2012. Her fix works for me. What I want to do is describe some behavior that might help microsoft figure out the problem. I received a file by email – 6.5 meg and 25 columns wide by 36,400 rows. When I open that file from the email I am able to sort it using the top left button. But (after I save it to my hard drive) when I open it from the hard drive, I always get the error message, every time. On that file (pulled from the hard drive), I have to use Linda's fix (cell A1- shift-ctrl-end) to get it to work. So big brains at microsoft – why can I sort this file when I open it from an email, but always get the 'availible resources' error when I open ti from the hared drive?

  36. RD says:

    Just another "By Design"  failure

    thx for the artikel tho

  37. Aye says:

    I had the same issue and discovered the following: despite the fact that there was a lot of data contained within the spreadsheet, it was only 135KB in size. But, after someone made changes to the file, the size changed to over 5MB.

    The size generated the error. But the amount of information within the file was relatively the same. So why the big size? It is because whoever last edited the excel file made formatting changes (such as coloring cells and borders) to span across entire rows and columns. Excel goes out of its way to store that information even though the cells themselves contain no data. You need to delete those thousands of empty, unused and needlessly formatted rows and columns (typically on the right or bottom side of your data) and save the changes in order to bring the size of the file back to “normal”.

  38. Chris says:

    Thanks. This update makes sense.

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