OneDrive users hit by Excel file corruption when editing online

Posted 01 September 2014 00:00 CEST by Seán Byrne

A few months ago, we reported on an issue with Microsoft OneDrive for Business where it modifies certain file types as it syncs them between PCs, by adding meta information to each file. So far, this issue has not occurred on the consumer version of OneDrive, at least not when syncing files between PCs and laptops.

A new user Tony joined our forum to tell us that the Microsoft community forum is flooded with issues about the consumer version of OneDrive corrupting files. So we repeated our test by syncing over 10 different types of files between Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs and running MD5 checks, but everything seemed to sync just fine with no MD5 discrepancy.

When I checked what was going on in the Microsoft Community forums, it turned out that the problem seems to be specific to editing Excel files through the browser using the web based version of Excel. Once any Excel file is edited through Excel online, the resulting file OneDrive synced to the PC would become corrupt, at least with OneDrive for Windows 8.1.

To try to replicate this issue, I created an Excel file in my personal OneDrive folder, added digits to a few cells and then edited that file in Excel online by adding digits to a few more cells. Once that online edited version synced back to my laptop, the resulting file gave the following error:

Excel File Corrupt

The following uncut video demonstrates this bug:

For this demo, I used a laptop running Windows 8.1, Excel 2013 and my personal OneDrive synced folder. This bug also seems to vary intermittently from computer to computer. For example, when I booted my desktop PC into Windows 8.1 and repeated this test in Excel 2013, the bug did not occur no matter how many changes I made to the Excel file online. On my laptop, every single Excel file I edited online resulted in the offline synced file getting corrupt.

According to the most of the feedback reported on the Microsoft community forums, this bug seems to be specific to OneDrive for Windows 8.1 and does not occur in Excel files synced with OneDrive on Windows 7. Word files edited online do not appear to be affected from my testing, but there are a few reports of various Microsoft Office file types including Word becoming corrupt once synced back to the PC.

For those affected, one workaround is to open the file online and save it to the PC. For those with a large number of files on OneDrive, another option is to sync OneDrive to a Windows 7 based computer.

Update 2nd Sept ’14: According to Arcadiy K from Microsoft, this issue has now been fixed such that files edited online will no longer result in the synced offline files becoming corrupt. This fix does not currently repair existing corrupt offline files, so they will need to be manually downloaded from OneDrive online.

Blown to smitherines
Posted on: 01 Sep 14 21:32
Quality control is lacking at M$ ...
0 Agree

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 02 Sep 14 00:27
I would rather not use any online editing at all. Cloud services cannot be trusted as offline replacements. At least with Free (as in freedom) programs, you often have the option to use older versions (to avoid bugs), or to make your own version (or to have a version made for you).
0 Agree

New Member
Posted on: 02 Sep 14 01:22
Word and Powerpoint files are also affected (not just Excel).
0 Agree

New Member
Posted on: 02 Sep 14 11:22
Microsoft has now responded to this issue and says they have it fixed (moving forward).
0 Agree

Senior Administrator & Reviewer
Posted on: 02 Sep 14 11:54
I've given this a quick test and sure enough the offline Excel file no longer goes corrupt when I edit it online.

Existing offline corrupt files do not automatically repair themselves, however, a simple edit to any online file result will result in the corrupt version being replaced by the undamaged online version.

For example, open a damaged file online, type a space at the end of the document (or in a blank Excel cell) and close the browser window, then repeat for any other recently edited files that became corrupt offline. OneDrive will then sync the offline versions and they should no longer be corrupt.

Thanks for the update Tony,
0 Agree

New Member
Posted on: 04 Jun 16 12:59
Has anyone found this problem with Onedrive Online Excel? I uploaded a new version of my workbook and all the dropdown list do not work, for example cells d16, d17 and e17. I downloaded this workbook and it works fine in Excel 2010. I tried to upload the original workbook (that worked with the dropdown list) and now the dropdown list do not work.

Any help will be great.
0 Agree

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 04 Jun 16 20:42
Another good reason I use Stand alone Office 2016 to do my work instead of messing my work more then it is.
0 Agree

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