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I've created a macro to help resolve the XLS issue. It uses a Microsoft program (excelcnv.exe) that is already on your computers. It might vary in the path to where it is stored, but that is an easy update.
Knowing that this command line solution will fix a single file, I created a macro that has no input/outputs and is configured by selecting a folder to operate on. The macro will make new .xlsx files for all .xls files in that directory.
This is a work-around.
Alteryx ACE & Top Community Contributor
Chaos reigns within. Repent, reflect and reboot. Order shall return.
My computer got a MS Windows update this week and good news - the update addresses this bug – though, with the various amazing work-arounds the Alteryx community have provided these past few weeks had bugged the bug away!
Back to the MS Windows update…
November 14, 2017—KB4048954 (OS Build 15063.726 and 15063.728)
Addressed issue where applications based on the Microsoft JET Database Engine (Microsoft Access 2007 and older or non-Microsoft applications) fail when creating or opening Microsoft Excel .xls files. The error message is: “Unexpected error from external database driver (1). (Microsoft JET Database Engine)".
I have been able to run my various workflows that had .xls inputs and were tailored to .xls files without any error messages
Also, I have been able to create new inputs using .xls files without any problems.