Skip to main content

Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Windows App

Excel installed as a Windows App

The Problem

Starting sometime in 2018, some new computers started to be delivered with Microsoft Office installed as a 'Windows App', rather than being installed as a normal application for Windows.

If you simply activate this pre-installed 'Windows App' version of Office, (perhaps using your Office 365 License Key), then everything seems to work correctly, but the user does not realized that Office has been installed in a way that is radically different.

For example, if you search your entire drive for the Excel.exe application, you won't find it.

It has been buried deep within the folder c:\Program Files\Windows Apps, which makes it unsearchable, and unviewable.

If you scroll to that folder, you will be prevented from seeing anything within it.

For another example, there are no registry keys.

Microsoft is using some new technology (that appears to be undocumented, and a proprietary secret) to accomplish the 'behind-the-curtains' things that registry keys used to do.

That creates a huge problem for the developers of many Excel add-ins — including your Systems2win add-in (that extends Excel with so many useful tools for continuous process improvement)

The Solution

Uninstall Office, then install it normally

Uninstall any add-ins

including Systems2win, which can be uninstalled using Control Panel > Programs and Features

Tip: If you will be reinstalling on the same computer, then you don't need to deactivate. When you reinstall later, you can skip the activation step, because you will remain activated.

Uninstall Microsoft Office

using Control Panel > Programs and Features

Install Office

Install the 32-bit version of Office (even if you are running on the 64-bit version of Windows)

(Yes, your Systems2win add-in can work on the 64-bit version of Excel, but the 32-bit version is the more stable version, and is recommended for 99% of users)

Install your add-ins

following the usual installation instructions for your Systems2win add-in

The Work Around

Manually register your Systems2win add-in

If you want to wait to reinstall Office,

or perhaps ignore our advice, and just keep using Office installed as a Windows App until you encounter (inevitable) additional compatibility problems that compel you to uninstall and reinstall Office and all of your add-ins some time in the future

then, after installing, you can manually register your Systems2win add-in

Excel > File > Options > Add-Ins > Manage: Excel Add-ins > Go... > click the Browse... button >
then browse to the folder where Systems2win is installed (usually C:\Program Files (x86)\zSystems2win )
then select the file S2winCom.xlam > OK

If you are installing Systems2win version 15 or lower, then repeat those same steps to also register the file Systems2winXLL32.xll or Systems2win64XLL.xll.

(version 16 no longer uses the XLL)

Then close and re-open Excel.


To uninstall

Using Control Panel > Programs and Features to uninstall Systems2win
will uninstall everything except for your manual registry entry(s).

So whenever you open Excel, you will see an error dialog that says that the Systems2win add-in cannot be found.

Solution: Excel > File > Options > Add-Ins > Manage: Excel Add-ins > Go... >
then when you click the text (not the check box) for the S2winCom add-in,
you will get a dialog saying that it cannot be found, do you want to remove it from the list?
Click Yes.