Fix PowerPoint Startup Hangs
If you are having problems with PowerPoint starting very slow or freezing upon startup where you have to perform a warm boot (CTRL+ALT+DEL) just to recover? You may be having a problem with one certain file. PowerPoint stores any toolbar, button, or menu customizations in a special PCB file. Unfortunately, it seems to record customizations by adding to this file, not by replacing the old configuration with the new one, so the PCB file grows with every change. Most add-ins create a new toolbar at startup, then delete it at shutdown, so every time you start or quit PowerPoint, the PCB file grows larger. The more add-ins you have loaded, and the more toolbars they create, and the more often you start and quit PowerPoint, the faster the PCB file grows.
Sooner or later, it reaches a size where PowerPoint is no longer able to cope with it. The next time you start PowerPoint and an add-in tries to create its toolbars, PowerPoint freezes up. Totally.
So, then what do you do about? Follow these procedures:
- Quit PowerPoint if it's running, then start Windows Explorer.
- In the left pane, select the drive where Windows is installed. Choose Tools, Find, Files Or Folders, or press F3 to bring up the Find All Files dialog box.
- On the Name & Location tab of this dialog box, type *.PCB in the Named text box; make sure there's a checkmark next to Include Subfolders; and then click Find Now. Within a few seconds, you should see at least one PCB file listed in the results pane. The one you're after will be named PPT.PCB if you're on a single-user computer or Your User Name.PCB if you're on a computer with multiple users.
- Click the file in the results pane and press Delete to delete it.
- Now start PowerPoint again. Because you've deleted the PCB file, it will lose any menu and toolbar customizations you've done, but it will create a new PCB file for itself. Any further customizations you do will be recorded there.
This PCB file may take considerable time in the making, but once in awhile it just may be worth your benefit to delete this file and make PowerPoint load quicker.
This tip comes from Steve Rindsberg who is president of RDP, a 35mm slide-imaging service bureau that specializes in PowerPoint output. RDP also does custom PowerPoint VBA programming, develops Web-based utilities, and creates Acrobat PDF-based interactive documents for the Web and/or CD distribution. You can find RDP on the Web at http://www.rdpslides.com/.
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Date of last revision: 20 September 2001.