LibreOffice Windows Explorer Extension Problems

I’ve been struggling to resolve some odd infrequent problems with LibreOffice crashing for about a year now. The problems were not fixed by uninstalling and deleting my user profile as well as many other suggestions that had resolved similar issues for other users. The worst part was how usually the attempts would appear to help but it was always just a perception not a reality.

A couple of weeks ago I upgraded my NAS to a QNAP TS-231 and the problems got worse. I tried a whole bunch of things to fix the problems and nothing really worked. Yesterday the problems got severe enough (trashed ODB file) and repeatable enough that I decided to take some time to research them carefully.

It turns out at least some of the various problems were actually caused by the LibreOffice Windows Explorer Extension which had been a problem for me twice before since 2012. The solution is to simply remove the Explorer Extension as shown in my 2012 post. Now that this feature has caused me major problems for a third time I’m going to have to remember and recommend that whenever installing LibreOffice on a PC that will access files from a *nix based NAS, use the custom option when installing and avoid the Windows Explorer Extension like the plague.

Print Preview Problem in LibreOffice Calc

I’ve had a problem with the LibreOffice Calc print preview function for a while. The problem is not showing the selected sheet(s) and I’ve always assumed it was more a problem with me than with the software. I finally got annoyed enough with my work around for the problem that I decided to search for an answer. The answer I found was 2½ years old making me feel even dumber for not looking sooner. So if you can’t get some sheets to show in print preview simply go to the sheets that do show and delete the defined print ranges (Format -> Print Ranges -> Remove). When you think about it this is the proper behavior, setting a print range tells Calc to not print anything else in the spreadsheet.

Blogroll is back

The blogroll on the left side has been empty for a long while. It used to be automatically updated via a  Google Reader feature but since the demise of Reader it stopped working. I hadn’t found any way to replace it with another automated system so today I manually created a blogroll. To avoid typing too much I exported my feeds from Feedly as OPML then converted that to a CSV file using this utility web service. Finally I re-arranged, cleaned up and deleted the extra data from the CSV in LibreOffice Calc and added a formula to make <a href> links out of the names and urls. Then I simply pasted the resulting list into a WordPress text widget.

Another LibreOffice Fix

Most of the embedded systems I design output data in a CSV format for performance analysis, monitoring and debugging. So I add LibreOffice Calc to the CSV files “Open with” Explorer option for convenience. When moving from OpenOffice, or upgrading LibreOffice versions, the file association is sometimes broken do to left over registry keys pointing to the wrong place for scalc.exe.

In the past I would manually delete the left over entries using RegEdit, a rather slow and boring task. This post on the OO forum points out the easiest method of fixing this issue, using CCleaner. I like to use the portable version because I rarely run the program so by the time I want to run it again I need to get the latest version anyway.

LibreOffice 3.6 series causing Win7 Explorer Crashes

I really like LibreOffice so recently I upgraded to the 3.6 version on my Win7 64 Pro PC. Soon after upgrading I noticed some major slowdowns but since I was working on humongous data analysis spreadsheets I assumed it was my abuse of spreadsheets. The spreadsheets contain thousands of data points that are charted and have basic statistics calculated. Normally I’d take the time to do analysis and graphing in R but, since I don’t anticipate needing to re-run these analyses I got lazy and just used Calc.

Last night I noticed that when I opened one of the spreadsheets in Calc, Windows Explorer started continuously accessing my NAS file server. Even after closing Calc the network access continued and then Explorer crashed when I tried to use any explorer function (e.g. empty the recycle bin). After a re-boot Explorer was still doing the excessive network access but after a few minutes it stopped. So I tried just opening Calc without opening a spreadsheet from the file server. The problem started right up indicating that this was not a problem with massive spreadsheets as I had guessed.

This morning I decided to investigate more and discovered these two somewhat related problems in the LibreOffice bug list (weird, the bug list server went down as I was testing the links). It turns out there is a bug in the LibreOffice Explorer shell extensions DLL, some users recommended using the command line tool to un-register the DLL but, one user said he solved his problem by re-installing LibreOffice and disabling the shell extensions option. This made me think that the easiest way would be to use the change feature of the Windows Installer. I tried it out and it worked perfectly fixing the problem. Here are step by step screen shots of this easy way to fix this problem.


The rest of the steps should be obvious.