Office or OneDrive problem

Could not open a PowerPoint file without Internet

Typical scenario: I was at a customer site. I had previously marked my presentation stored in OneDrive for Business as „always available“. This is necessary because I have enabled „Files on Demand“ and also implemented a group policy that checks all „Locally Available“ at certain intervals and converts them to „Cloud only“ if necessary. So the PowerPoint presentation is always available, with or without Internet. At the customer’s site, they were still using the guest WLAN key at the time, so I didn’t have Internet access. So I started PowerPoint, load the presentation and got the message „xxxx could not be opened“.

The question now becomes, where is the problem?

  • In the Operating System?
  • In Office?
  • In OneDrive?

It is not that simple. I have tested it in different configurations.

Operating system:

I have tested it under Windows 10 and Windows 11
Windows 10 Build 21H1 19043.1415
Windows 10 Build 21H2 19044.1415
Windows 11 Build 22523


Office also has several versions
Office 2111 Build 14701.20262
Office 2201 Build 14809.20000
Office 2201 Build 14827.20158
Office 2201 Build 14827.20192
Office 2201 Build 14827.20198


Again, I tried it with two versions
OneDrive 21.230.1107.0004
OneDrive 21.245.1128.0001 (Insider)

Since the problem occurred under Windows 10 as well as Windows 11, I consider the operating system to be excluded as the cause. Since the sync client does not actually have anything to synchronize, since there is no Internet, we can assume that it is Office. Our classic Office Apps are besides PowerPoint also Word and Excel. So we created 2 documents, one with Excel, one with Word. And lo and behold: Word works. With and without internet. Excel does not work, but even worse: no error message is displayed. So the problem can be narrowed down. The Office products mentioned above also have their own synchronization built in. Many don’t know that these products have their own sync client on board. So you can choose a local „OneDrive“ directory when saving, then it will be saved to your harddisk first and then Windows Sync Client will do the synchronization. Or you can select a SharePoint Online library, for example, then it saves directly there and then syncs those folders back from the cloud. I digress though, because we are not dealing with save or sync. Apparently the bug is present in the individual apps, and across multiple Office builds.

I have opened a ticket with Microsoft. Attached a Word document with individual steps and support cannot reproduce it. I created a video after request, where the error occurs directly. Now wanted to know various other things, but all have nothing to do with the problem. If you have 5 minutes time, you can recreate the problem yourself:

  1. Launch PowerPoint, add a slide
  2. Save to OneDrive for Business
  3. Exit PowerPoint
  4. Wait for synchronization to the cloud
  5. Start Explorer and mark save pptx file as „always available“
  6. Disconnect PC from Internet (active mobile flight mode – disconnect power cord)
  7. Start PowerPoint
  8. Select the file from the „recently used“ list

While writing this blog post, I also tried various things. And found out that it is about a smart DLL (Dynamic Link Library). Because of course you can open the file from Explorer. Also from PowerPoint. But this intelligent DLL is different. Because in PowerPoint it brings an error, in Excel no display and in Word it works.

So why can’t support recreate the problem? I don’t know. You are welcome to write me in the comments if you experience the error, but then with indication of Windows version, PowerPoint version and OneDrive version. Thanks

[Update 22/09/22]
As already described, it was an Office problem. With Office Version 2202 14931 20010 und 2203 15003.20004 the problem is fixed.

[Update 22/17/22]
it looks like that only the Office Version 2201 14827 xxxx has the issue.

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