PowerPivot 2013 Error: Data Model Damaged

I have been using PowerPivot in Excel 2013 and SQL Server 2012 SP1 Tabular Model side by side for over 3 months now. Recently I have just encountered the following error when creating new Excel 2013 workbook from scratch and adding a table into the Data Model.

We couldn’t load the Data Model. This may be because the Data Model in the workbook is damaged.

 PowerPivot Error - Data Model may be damaged


PowerPivot is unable to load the Data Model.

PowerPivot error: PowerPivot is unable to load the Data Model


It seems that I am not the only who is having the issue. Chris Webb (b | t) mentioned to me that he also has encountered it in the past. Others have mentioned that it’s been working for them without any issue.

I have recently logged the issue on Connect. Please vote if you encounter the same issue.

To summarize, the environment details I have this happened are:

Operating System: Windows 8 Pro (6.2.9200) – 64-bit

SQL Server 2012 SP1 (11.0.3128) – 64-bit

Office Professional Pro 2013: Microsoft Excel 2013 15.0.4454.1503 MSO (15.0.4454.1504) 64-bit


The workaround is simply to turn off SQL Server Analysis Services (Tabular) services. This should allow users to add data model to PowerPivot again. Although the workaround is simple and works, it becomes cumbersome for us who needs to use both PowerPivot and Tabular Model at the same time.

Hopefully this will be fixed soon.


Wrap Up

Having PowerPivot (Excel 2013) and SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular Model instance installed on the same machine may result in an error when opening PowerPivot. The error “We couldn’t load the Data Model. This may be because the Data Model in the workbook is damaged.” appears even though the data model is not damaged (or not even created yet). The work around is to stop the Tabular Model instance. The issue has been logged on Connect.


Further Reading

PowerPivot couldn’t load Data Model when SSAS Tabular Instance is running on Microsoft Connect.


34 comments on “PowerPivot 2013 Error: Data Model Damaged
      • I have the same issue but there is not analysis services running on my pc, it’s very frustrating.

        I installed and uninstalled analysis services (Tabular) on my pc but I still have the same issue.

  1. I’m getting the same error message, but I don’t have SQL Server 2012 (I have 2008 R2). Powerpivot will work if I launch Excel using “Run as Administrator”…. which was an issue they had for an early release of PowerPivot 2012


    I wonder if this is a similar issue.

    • Hi Eric,

      That’s interesting. Thank you for sharing the details. Is the error you are getting the same as those reported in the KB (https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2703880), i.e. “Embedded Analysis Services Engine: Could not open embedded Powerpivot data”? Or, does it say “We couldn’t load the Data Model. This may be because the Data Model in the workbook is damaged.”?

      In my environment (the one outlined in this article), I have admin privilege in Windows 8. I have not tried running it in Administrator mode after the error occurred. I shall give it a try shortly.


  2. Ahh, I see someone has made a similar observation on your connect page:

    “Posted by David M Feldman MCSD MCDBA, MCTS SharePoint on 4/2/2013 at 7:52 PM
    I can confirm i’ve seen this on any machine where the user does not have local admin rights. I wasted weeks with support and made no progress. This really needs to be fixed”

    So I suspect that this does, again, have something to do with Local Security Policy settings.

  3. Hi,

    Getting the same error, but I don’t have a tabular instance running in the machine… Have also tried the run as admin approach, but did not work. What is more weird is that the same exact file opens inside a VM with Excel 2013 and that VM has a tabular instance (running)…

    Did you have any news on this?


    • Hi Fernando,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with this issue. Unfortunately I have not heard any more news / progress on this.

      With your situation, I’m assuming that when the VM is running, you are unable to open the Excel file on the host machine but you can on the VM. How much memory is left on the host machine when the VM is running? How much memory is allocated for the VM?

      My suspicion for a long while now (but unconfirmed and not yet validated), is that there might be some sort of memory contention / leak.


  4. Hi,

    I have the same problem “We couldn’t load the data model… damaged”.
    This happened after I could not save the workbook because of “out of memory exception” errors. My VM has 3 GB or RAM, and only 1.5 GB were being used at the time the error below happened. PowerPivot most likely has memory management/leakage issues.
    Error Message:

    Exception of type ‘System.OutOfMemoryException’ was thrown.
    Exception occurred during SaveClientSerialization.
    Call Stack:
    at System.Xml.XmlBufferReader.SetBuffer(Stream stream, IXmlDictionary dictionary, XmlBinaryReaderSession session)
    at System.Xml.XmlBinaryReader.SetInput(Stream stream, IXmlDictionary dictionary, XmlDictionaryReaderQuotas quotas, XmlBinaryReaderSession session, OnXmlDictionaryReaderClose onClose)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.DiagramManager.CopyObject(Object original)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.DiagramManager.CloneViewStates(IDiagramObject diagramObject, Dictionary`2 dictionary)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.DiagramManager.CloneViewStates(IDiagramObject diagramObject, Dictionary`2 dictionary)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.DiagramManager.CloneViewStates(IDiagramObject diagramObject, Dictionary`2 dictionary)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.DiagramManager.ActiveToSuspended(ActiveDiagram active)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.DiagramManager.Serialize()
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.Common.SandboxEditor.SaveSandboxEditorSerialization(Boolean delayApply, Action action)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.XLHost.Modeler.ClientWindow.SaveClientSerialization(Boolean delayApply)
    at Microsoft.AnalysisServices.XLHost.Modeler.ClientWindow.SaveClientSerialization()
    at Microsoft.Office.PowerPivot.ExcelAddIn.GeminiRibbon.SaveClientWindow(Workbook wb)
    at Microsoft.Office.PowerPivot.ExcelAddIn.GeminiRibbon.SaveClientWindow(Workbook wb)
    at Microsoft.Office.PowerPivot.ExcelAddIn.AddIn.Application_WorkbookBeforeSave(Workbook Wb, Boolean SaveAsUI, Boolean& Cancel)

  5. I voted up your issue and I have now seen it on 3 different machines. None of them have a Tablular Analysis Services running, but just about all data-connected features will not work unless the user is a local Administrator. This goes for Power View, PowerPivot, GeoFlow and even simple SQL Server backed Pivot Tables.

  6. I have received this error when attempting to open more than 4 concurrent instances of PowerPivot in Excel 2013. It does not matter if the Excel instances are open on a single interactive desktop, or in separate user sessions – there appears to be a hard server level limit or restriction in place. This issue is easily reproducible by opening 5 instances of Excel (they need to be separate instances of excel using the /X switch) with blank workbooks, and then attempting to open the PowerPivot window in each. The 5th one receives the error.

  7. So the cause for my version of this issue has been verified to be an issue with a particular group policy setting – similar to an issue that existed back when PowerPivot R2 was first released. It is a group policy setting which restricts the amount of memory available to an application.

    This KB article has details:

    note that while this article specifically references the issue is with XP, it also applies in Win 7.

  8. I have the same issue with a new install of Office 2013 whereas it’s working fine with Excel 2010. Config: Win8 64bits, Office 64 bits.
    I don’t have Tubular Services installed nor runnning.

    I tried to uninstall SQL Server 2012, repair Office 365, nothing. I reinstalled Excel 2010 and it works fine… while 2013 doesn’t want to open any powerpivot (including any blank spreadsheet)

  9. Hi MS SQL Girl, any updates on a workaround aside from having to shut down the SSAS instance? I don’t have an instance running on my machine. However, I came across a link that seems to lay the blame on user permissions. Specifically, the user needs to have permissions enabled for ‘SeIncreaseWorkingSetPrivilege’…apparently this privilege relates to the VM of an application. While this is enabled in default security permission settings in Windows, this privilege may be stripped from user accounts in certain corporate environments.

    • Just a follow up regarding this issue…enabling the ‘SeIncreaseWorkingSetPrivilege’ fixed the issue on my end. This privilege relates to allowing a user to increase the physical memory used by an application, which in this case would be Excel.

  10. I experience the same problem. I am running Windows 7 of a 64 bit machine. I closed MS Excel 2013 and clicked on its icon on my desktop. I then chose Troubleshoot Compatibility. After I did this, everything ran smoothly.

  11. I found an annoyingly simple fix for my problem with PowerPivot in excel 2013: We couldn’t get data from the Data Model …(file ‘pfthreadpool.cpp’, line 970,function ‘PFThreadPool::QueueWorkItemMultiple’
    Solution: Repair install of PowerPivot
    To no avail, I tried a bunch of the things mentioned on this and other boards. It had been a while since I last did a repair on Office (Pro Plus) and I noticed PowerPivot in the program list. Figured it was worth a shot to try a repair on that instead of Excel/Office and it worked! I haven’t seen this suggested anywhere, so I wanted to share.

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  13. Hi MS SQLGirl!
    I’m having the same Data Model damaged issue. I would like to know if instead of doing the complicated work, making changes to registry entries and a host of other stuff, can I just reinstall the PowerPivot Add-in??? Will this help ?? I reinstalled Office 2013, but this did not fix the issue. I am using Windows 7 -64 bit.
    Would appreciate any help in regard to this. Thanks.

    • Hi Maneesh,

      I am terribly sorry for the super late reply. The start of 2015 turned out to be a very busy time for me.

      Thanks for the question.

      Back to the question you have… Assuming that you don’t have Tabular Model installed on the machine where you are running Power Pivot –
      My suggestion is to uninstall Power Pivot add-in. Download the latest version of Power Pivot and then install it. Let me know if it works; or if you have found a solution / workaround in the mean time.

      All the best.


  14. Hi MS SQLGirl!

    I don’t know if this could help for a further investigation
    but on a customer’s development machine (with Windows Server 2008 R2, AS 2012 Tabular and Office 2013 SP1)
    we started to have this problem
    after we ugraded BIDS from VS2012 to VS2013.
    Before the upgrade PowerPivot worked perfectly.


  15. Good Day!
    Here is a reply of MS maintenance team for the same issue, it helped me:

    It’s hard to give the root reason that cause this issue. You can disable PowerPivot add-in in excel and re-enable it, then check if this issue persists or not. Please refer to the link below to see how to enable PowerPivot add-in in excel.

    For full discussion refer to https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/vstudio/en-US/1fef1850-8292-4fda-908c-6d2814a6edfc/data-model-error-pfthreadpoolcpp?forum=sqlkjpowerpivotforexcel

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