Filr Desktop client creates conflicting copy of Excel 97-2003 .xls format Excel files

  • 7018465
  • 09-Jan-2017
  • 10-Apr-2017

Environment

Micro Focus Filr 3.1
Micro Focus Filr Desktop client 3.1
Novell Filr 2.0
Novell Filr Desktop client 2.0

Situation

Filr Desktop client creates conflicting copies of Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls) format file even if the file is only being viewed (not modified) by a user and another user tries to view it at the same time.

For example, a Filr user A is viewing an xls spreadsheet through the Filr 2.0 Desktop client. At the same time a Filr user B views the same file through his Desktop client. User B closes the file without any modifications to it but user A still has the file open. Now when user A closes the same file without any modifications to it, a conflicting file is created immediately by user A’s Desktop client. In reality, neither User A nor User B have not made any change to the spreadsheet. 

In addition to generation of conflicting copies, some users may also experience file upload failures when they try to open a Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls) format file that has been shared with them with "read-only" privileges. Because opening such files changes the file's MD5Sum, Filr tries to update the file but because user was not granted "write" privileges, an upload failure error is displayed.

Resolution

A fix for this issue is available in the Filr 2.0 - Hot Patch 4 and Filr 3.1.1 update available in the Novell Patch Finder. With the fix in place, the Desktop client will ignore any updates on Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls) format file unless the user actually makes a change and saves the file.

Cause

This happens because Microsoft Excel modifies the metadata of the Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls) format files every time a file is viewed/opened in MS Excel even if no changes are made by the user. As a result, the file's MD5Sum changes indicating to Filr that the file has been modified.

Note that this is a known issue / limitation with Microsoft Excel 97-2003 workbook (.xls) format files:
https://support.microsoft.com/en-in/help/826741/excel-changes-modified-date-and-time-when-you-open-the-workbook

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